The White House will host an international ransomware gathering next week aimed at improving international cooperation among governments in the fight against ransomware-driven cyberattacks, said Jeff Greene, chief of cyber response and policy for the White House’s National Security Council.

Speaking at an October 7 online event organized by Digital Government Institute, Greene said that generating more international cooperation on the issue is one of several pillars in the White House’s strategy to fight ransomware.

“We are working closely with international partners to address the shared threat of ransomware, and hopefully bring together global political will to collaborate” to combat those attacks, he said.

He said the White House meeting planned for next week will involve more than 30 partners. The gathering will be aimed at several goals including accelerating cooperation in improving network resilience, addressing financial systems that make ransomware profitable, disrupting the ransomware ecosystem, and law enforcement cooperation.

Another important goal, Greene said, is “leveraging the tools of diplomacy to address safe harbors, to improve partner capacity, and to spread actionable recommendations and best practices.”

“As a nation, as a government, we are committed to eliminating safe harbors for these criminals,” Greene said, including “through a more direct approach when necessary.

Global cooperation in the ransomware fight, he said, “is necessary because it’s really as a trans-boundary threat. Most of the criminals you see are transnational, they often leverage global infrastructure – whether technological or money laundering – and they use that to carry out and then monetize their attacks.”

“So countering ransomware is going to require international cooperation to make sure we hold criminals accountable as well as the states that are harboring them,” Greene said.


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John Curran
John Curran
John Curran is MeriTalk's Managing Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.