May 21, 2021 - Technology

Exclusive: Business lobby pushes ransomware fight

An illustration of multiple hijacked PCs

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is calling on the federal government to do more to fight ransomware as businesses continue to be hit with financially motivated attacks.

Why it matters: Once they are hit, businesses often feel they have no choice but to pay up — hence the need and desire for collective action.

Driving the news: The Colonial Pipeline attack was a highly public example of what many companies and government agencies have been quietly grappling with over the past years as hackers hijack systems and lock data by tapping vulnerabilities, then encrypt everything until a ransom is paid.

  • Bloomberg reported yesterday that CNA Financial quietly paid $40 million in March to regain control of their systems after a ransomware attack.

Between the lines; According to the Chamber of Commerce the average attack takes systems down for 21 days and it can take nine months or more to fully recover.

  • In a new letter being released today, the Chamber calls on the Biden administration and Congress to make the issue a higher diplomatic priority, disrupt the payment systems used by ransomware hijackers, enhance global law enforcement efforts as well as create a fund for victims.

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