Fraud Management & Cybercrime , Government , Industry Specific

FBI Says Enhanced Partnerships Help Combat Ransomware Surge

Bureau Touts ‘All-Time High’ Public-Private Coordination Despite Rise in Attacks
FBI Says Enhanced Partnerships Help Combat Ransomware Surge
The FBI, CISA and other agencies have invested in expanding information-sharing programs with private sector partners in recent years, officials said Wednesday. (Image: Shutterstock)

Enhanced interagency and public-private sector partnerships have allowed the U.S. federal government to better prevent and respond to the recent surge in ransomware attacks, top FBI officials said Wednesday.

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Coordination between the FBI and agencies including the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency and institutions in the healthcare and financial sectors "is at an all-time high," said Bryan Vorndran, assistant director of the FBI's cyber division.

Adversaries have developed "significant changes in tactics" over the last two years, Vorndran said while speaking at the Aspen Cyber Summit in New York City. The FBI has increasingly observed cybercriminals deploying techniques such as double extortion and dual payloads.

The FBI is also evolving its mitigation and response processes, FBI Deputy Director Paul Abbate said. Government anti-ransomware initiatives such as victim engagement and information and intelligence sharing across the federal enterprise and with the private sector "have significantly advanced" in recent years.

Abbate recalled how the FBI managed to prevent Iranian government-sponsored hackers from targeting the Boston Children's Hospital with a cyberattack in 2021 because the threat was detected in advance and shared with the bureau.

"We were able to take that information, get to the hospital and stop the attack before it occurred," he said. "That's where we want to be."

The FBI is working more closely with CISA to provide guidance on a range of cybersecurity issues, including ransomware response efforts. CISA launched the Joint Cyber Defense Collaborative, its flagship public-private sector information-sharing initiative, as part of an effort to better respond to cyberattacks targeting U.S. organizations.

About the Author

Chris Riotta

Chris Riotta

Managing Editor, GovInfoSecurity

Riotta is a journalist based in Washington, D.C. He earned his master's degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, where he served as 2021 class president. His reporting has appeared in NBC News, Nextgov/FCW, Newsweek Magazine, The Independent and more.

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