Categories: Tech

US Warns Cyber ​​Information Hijacks Are Getting Worse Every Day | Voice Of America

US Attorney General Merrick Garland warned Wednesday that ransom-motivated cyberattacks are “getting worse and worse,” echoing other senior officials in the Biden administration who have raised the alarm about the problem in the last weeks. “We have to do everything we can here,” Garland told lawmakers. “This is a very, very serious threat.” The attorney general’s warning during a Senate hearing on the Department of Justice’s 2022 fiscal budget request followed a pair of so-called high-profile ransomware attacks over the past month that shook national security and the law enforcement system. United States law and prompted calls to reinforce cyber defenses. In a ransomware attack, hackers hijack the data of a business or organization and offer keys to unlock the files in exchange for a large sum of money. Last month, cybercriminals believed to be based in Russia hacked into the computer networks of Colonial Pipeline, the largest US oil pipeline operator, disrupting supplies along the East Coast and causing panic buying. Colonial later said it paid $ 4.4 million to regain access to its network. On Monday, the Justice Department revealed that most of the ransom money had been recovered. Last week, cybercriminals targeted JBS USA, the US arm of the world’s largest fresh beef and pork processor based in Brazil. JBS refused to pay a ransom and was forced to close its processing facilities in the United States. Biden: Cyberattack Stopping US Pipeline Is “Criminal Act” Georgia-based Colonial Pipeline shut down operations on Friday after hackers broke into some of its networks, according to US officials. The White House has said that the criminal gangs behind both attacks, known as DarkSide and REvil, are likely based in Russia, but officials have not alleged any ties to the Russian government. The Justice Department identified DarkSide as the hacker group that was targeted by law enforcement officials to retaliate and recover the ransom. Cyber ​​attacks are likely to be mentioned in the June 16 meeting between President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Secretary of State Antony Blinken told lawmakers Monday that Biden will make it clear to Putin that “states cannot harbor those who are involved in these types of attacks.” Once viewed as a financial crime, ransomware has become a growing threat to national security in recent years, as cybercriminals have resorted to targeting local governments, schools, hospitals, and other critical service providers and demanding million dollars in ransom. Experts suspect Russia of cyber attacks on US institutions Among the victims of hacking are the departments of State, National Security, the Treasury and Commerce. According to a May 12 report by Check Point Research, attacks of this type more than doubled this year compared to the beginning of 2020, with healthcare and utilities being the most targeted sectors. “You can imagine what could happen if we had multiple attacks at the same time on an even more critical infrastructure. So I’m very concerned about that, as is the administration,” Garland said. “And that is why we have asked for such a huge increase in our cyber budget.” The Justice Department’s nearly $ 36 billion budget includes about $ 1.1 billion for cybersecurity. If approved by Congress, that would constitute the largest increase in cybersecurity resources for the department in more than a decade, according to Garland. In April, prior to the Colonial attack, the Justice Department established an internal task force dedicated to developing strategies to combat these attacks. Its first major operation was to recover most of the millions of dollars paid in ransom by Colonial hackers from DarkSide, Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco announced. Garland called the recovery a “significant success” but said it was not enough. “This has to be a constant, just a constant focus,” he said. He stated that he has discussed the issue with his counterparts from the main allied countries of the United States. Connect with the Voice of America! Subscribe to our YouTube channel and activate notifications, or follow us on social networks: Facebook, Twitter

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