WASHINGTON - Today the U.S. Secret Service hosted a virtual Cyber Incident Response Simulation with business leaders, law enforcement and other private sector partners focused on ransomware and cryptocurrency attacks and mitigation strategies.
Ransomware is a type of malicious software cyber criminals use to deny access to systems or data. The malicious cyber actor holds systems or data hostage until the ransom is paid. After the initial infection, the ransomware attempts to spread to shared storage drives and other accessible systems. If the demands are not met, the system or encrypted data remain unavailable, and may be deleted. Cryptocurrency is an online, peer-to-peer currency often used by a wide array of individuals. This currency is popular, in part, because of its innate cryptographic security. Cryptocurrency is used by cyber criminals to commit different types of fraud and trafficking.
“The Department of Homeland Security is proud to be working closely with CISA, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and industry folks like all of you who are essentially the backbone of our economy,” said Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. “Businesses like yours make up one half to three quarters of the ransomware victims in this country, and the Secret Service is taking action to help. You are taking an important step in protecting your business and employees.”
The training was the eighth of its kind and the sixth virtual event conducted with the agency’s Cyber Fraud Task Force (CFTF) partners. Executives who play an active part in their organization’s cyber incident response were offered a simulated scenario to enhance planning, collaboration and information sharing between state and local government agencies and the Secret Service. The uniquely designed cybercrime crisis role-play simulation allowed participants to gain a better understanding of how to efficiently and effectively respond to a ransomware and cryptocurrency attack.
“Today’s simulation gives us the chance to learn about each other’s processes and practices, and capitalize on the lessons we all have learned along the way,” said Secret Service Director James Murray. “We have found that these exercises build and promote trust, and that is important because, as you’ll hear throughout the day, none of us can solve this problem alone. We need that high level of trust so that we can move quickly and effectively when the time comes to respond to an attack.”
As the cyber mission of the Secret Service expands, the agency has adopted a multifaceted approach to investigating a broad range of cybercrimes, including greater education and information sharing, as well as enhanced partnerships with state and local governments and industry leaders.
The event featured guest speakers from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, National Guard Bureau, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency and other leaders across law enforcement as well as industry executives who discussed a range of topics.