WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The White House on Thursday (June 3) warned business executives and CEOs to tighten security measures to protect against ransomware attacks after intrusions disrupted company operations a meat packing company and an oil pipeline in the southeast.
There has been a significant increase in the frequency and size of ransomware attacks, Anne Neuberger, cybersecurity adviser at the National Security Council, said in a letter.
“The threats are serious and they are increasing. We urge you to take these essential steps to protect your organizations and the American public,” she added.
Recent cyber attacks have forced companies to view ransomware as a threat to core business operations and not just data theft, as ransomware attacks have shifted from theft to disrupting operations, she said. .
Building the country’s resilience to cyber attacks was one of President Joe Biden’s top priorities, she added.
“The private sector also has a critical responsibility to protect against these threats. All organizations must recognize that no business is immune from being a target of ransomware, regardless of its size or location, ”Neuberger wrote.
The letter came after a major meat packer resumed operations in the United States on Wednesday following a ransomware attack that disrupted meat production in North America and Australia.
A Russian-linked hacking group known as REvil and Sodinokibi was behind the cyberattack on JBS SA, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters.
The cyberattack was followed last month by a Russian-linked group on Colonial Pipeline, the United States’ largest fuel pipeline, which crippled fuel delivery for days in the southeastern United States.
Biden believes Russian President Vladimir Putin has a role to play in preventing these attacks and is planning to raise the issue at their summit this month, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Wednesday. .
Neuberger’s letter outlines the immediate steps businesses can take to protect themselves against ransomware attacks, which can have ripple effects far beyond the business and its customers.
These include best practices such as multi-factor authentication, endpoint discovery and response, encryption, and a trained security team. Businesses need to back up data and regularly test systems, as well as update and patch systems quickly.
Neuberger advised companies to test incident response plans and use a third party to test the work of the security team.
She said it was critical that the company’s business functions and production operations be performed on separate networks.