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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.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Colonial Pipeline CEO says company paid hacker group $4.4 million

Colonial Pipeline fuel tanks at a junction near Woodbine, Maryland. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

CEO of Colonial Pipeline Joseph Blount told the Wall Street Journal he authorized a ransom payment of $4.4 million to the DarkSide cybercrime group on May 7 in an attempt to restore the services of the largest refined fuels pipeline in the U.S.

Why it matters: The federal government for years has recommended that companies do not pay criminals during ransomware attacks over fears that the transactions would only encourage more groups to conduct future attacks.

The startup that wants to disrupt big internet providers

Maura Losch/Axios

A new startup backed by funding from AOL founder Steve Case and Laurene Powell Jobs wants to break up broadband monopolies across the country.

Why it matters: Internet access has been crucial during the pandemic, but it's not ubiquitous, and it can be both slow and unaffordable in swaths of the country.

1 hour ago - World

Top general: China's hypersonic missile test "very close" to a "Sputnik moment"

Gen. Mark Milley. Photo: Rod Lamkey-Pool/Getty Images

Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, warned Wednesday that China's test of a hypersonic missile is "very concerning" and "very close" to the kind of "Sputnik moment" that triggered the Space Race during the Cold War.

Why it matters: The comments by America's top uniformed general underscore the depths of U.S. concerns about China's rapid military expansion and development of advanced weaponry.