February 4, 2021

The National Cyber Investigative Joint Task Force Releases Ransomware Fact Sheet

The National Cyber Investigative Joint Task Force (NCIJTF) has released a new joint-seal ransomware fact sheet. This educational product is intended to provide the public important information on the current ransomware threat and the government’s response, as well as common infection vectors, tools for attack prevention, and important contacts in the event of a ransomware attack.

The NCIJTF has the primary responsibility to coordinate, integrate, and share information in support of cyber threat investigations; supply and support intelligence analysis for community decision-makers; and provide value to other ongoing efforts in the fight against cyber threats to the nation.

To address the growing ransomware problem, the NCIJTF has convened an interagency group of subject matter experts from over 15 different government agencies to specifically focus on the prevention of and response to ransomware attacks. The interagency group developed the new ransomware fact sheet to increase awareness and public education surrounding this threat, equipping the public with tools to prevent ransomware attacks and reduce the overall threat to the United States.

Ransomware is a type of malicious software, or malware, deployed by criminal actors that encrypts data on a computer system, making it unusable for the end user. The criminal cyber actors hold the data hostage until a ransom is paid. If the ransom is not paid, victim data could remain unavailable indefinitely, or it could be released to the public at large. Between 2013 and 2019, it is estimated at least $144.35 million in Bitcoin have been paid out as ransomware ransom.

While ransomware attacks can impact any industry or organization, the federal government is particularly concerned about ransomware attacks on the networks of police and fire departments; state, local, tribal, and territorial governments; municipalities; hospitals; and other critical infrastructure. These types of attacks can delay first responders in responding to emergencies or prevent a hospital from accessing lifesaving equipment. It is imperative these organization be prepared in the face of the ransomware threat. The NCIJTF’s ransomware fact sheet provides the basic information necessary to help protect the United States’ infrastructure.

The joint-seal product can be found at https://www.ic3.gov/Content/PDF/Ransomware_Fact_Sheet.pdf.