Attacking the Attackers: US Government Takes Action Against Cybercrime

Cybercrime is a top concern for businesses in the U.S. It’s estimated that by 2025 global cybercrime costs will reach $10.5 trillion USD. Under the direction of President Joe Biden, the U.S. government is stepping up efforts to combat cybercrime and has asked large tech and financial firms to join the effort. 

Here’s a look at the progress:

Companies Pledge Assistance

In August, President Joe Biden met with leaders from tech and financial companies including Apple, Google, Microsoft, JPMorgan Chase, and others to discuss the problem of ransomware and other cybercrime targeting American businesses. The meeting resulted in many of the companies making positive commitments to the fight against cybercrime. Google and Microsoft agreed to put $30 billion toward improving cyber security and reducing cybercrime over the next five years,and Amazon committed to making their in-house cyber training available to everyone. Meanwhile, Coalition, a company that offers cyber protection insurance, will provide access to its cyber risk assessment tools with the hope that small businesses will benefit significantly from larger corporate resources.

Government Programs Created

In July, the State Department (DOS) announced a reward program, Rewards for Justice (RFJ), that provides up to $10 million for information that helps identify and locate individuals who, under the direction or control of a foreign government, participate in malicious cyber activities against the U.S. The program was initially established in 1984 to reward people for providing actionable information around terrorism. Since that time, the program has awarded more than $200 million to more than 100 people.  In addition to announcing the RFJ reward program, a  Tor-based, tips-reporting channel was established on the Dark Web, providing safety and security for potential sources.   Additionally, the DOS recently announced that it would offer a $10 million, cryptocurrency reward for tips relating to cyberterrorism.

July also saw the launch of a new website, stop ransomware, spearheaded by the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) and the Department of Justice (DOJ). The aim of the site is to protect consumers and institutions by providing ransomware resources which include information on the threat of ransomware, guidance on how to reduce risks for an attack, and advice on how victims should report incidents. 

Congress

During its July session, the House passed five bipartisan bills that not only increase requirements for private companies to report on cybersecurity incidents, but also provide funding for states and local governments to increase cybersecurity measures. 

State and Local Cybersecurity Improvement Act | Provides grants to states that establish a program to address cybersecurity risks and cybersecurity threats to information systems of state, local, tribal, and territorial governments. 

Cybersecurity Vulnerability Remediation Act | Increases the responsibility of the Department of Homeland Security with respect to cybersecurity vulnerabilities. 

Cyber Exercise Act |Directs the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency to create a National Cyber Exercise program that will test and evaluate response plans and strategies for blocking and counteracting cybercrime.

Cyber Sense Act | Requires the Department of Energy to establish a voluntary cybersense program to test the cybersecurity of products and technologies intended for use in the bulk-power system.

DHS Industrial Control Systems Capabilities Enhancement Act | Provides The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency the responsibility to identify and address threats and vulnerabilities to products and technologies used in automated control systems and infrastructure.

This information will be updated periodically as changes occur and progress is made to protect businesses and individuals from the threat of cybercrime. 

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