US plans 30-nation meeting to address growing cyber crime threat

Biden says the meeting will focus on the use of illicit cryptocurrency and securing supply chains

The US is set to bring together 30 countries this month to address cyber security concerns, according to a statement from president Biden published on Friday.

The topics that will be discussed include combating cyber crime, improving law enforcement collaboration, stemming the illicit use of cryptocurrency, investing in trusted 5G technology, and better securing supply chains.

Biden added that the group would also bring the full strength of their capabilities to disrupt malicious cyber activity, and manage both the risks and opportunities of emerging technologies like quantum computing and artificial intelligence.

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Although Biden didn’t specify which countries would be attending the meeting, he mentioned that the US is partnering closely with nations around the world to deal with cyber threats, including its NATO allies and G7 partners.

Biden also underlined that the government needed the partnership of its citizens in its domestic cyber security efforts. 

“We must lock our digital doors — by encrypting our data and using multifactor authentication, for example—and we must build technology securely by design, enabling consumers to understand the risks in the technologies they buy,” he said. “Because people – from those who build technology to those [who] deploy technology – are at the heart of our success.”

In July, Biden said that the US could end up in a “shooting war” with a major power as a result of a cyber attack, highlighting how cyber threats are increasingly able to cause damage and disruption to the real world and said these types of attacks are increasing exponentially too. Biden pointed to Rusian president Vladimir Putin, stating that Russia's economy has nuclear weapons and oil wells "and nothing else", which he said could make him more dangerous.

In September, the US Department of Treasury imposed sanctions on virtual currency exchange Suex for its alleged role in facilitating financial transactions for ransomware actors. The Treasury stated that Suex had facilitated transactions involving illicit proceeds from at least eight ransomware variants and added that over 40% of its transaction history was associated with illicit actors.

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