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White House urges US mayors to review cyber security policies amid spate of ransomware attacks

Neuberger wants the Biden administration to work with mayors to protect US towns and cities

Deputy national security advisor Anne Neuberger has urged US mayors to meet with their state government cyber security chiefs to reassess security postures in light of recent ransomware attacks.

Neuberger recently met with the bipartisan US Conference of Mayors to talk about the cyber security challenges facing cities and towns across the nation, including the threat from ransomware.

As we reported earlier this week, the White House recently urged potential victims of the latest ransomware attack against customers of Kaseya’s VSA software, to report their security concerns to the Internet Crime Complaint Center.

The rise in ransomware attacks have also caused cyber insurance premiums to increase by a third over the last twelve months.

Neuberger said there was a need for private and public sector partnership to “effectively guard against ransomware” and urged mayors to “immediately convene heads of state agencies to review their cyber security posture and continuity plans”.

She added that the administration was ready to commit the “full resources of the federal government when responding to a cyber incident, including the assistance of cyber security professionals from the FBI and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA)”.

The administration’s ransomware strategy claims to comprise several strands, including the disruption of ransomware infrastructure and actors by working closely with the private sector, international cooperation to hold countries who harbor ransom actors accountable, expanding cryptocurrency analysis to find and pursue criminal transactions, and the federal government’s review to build a cohesive and consistent approach towards ransom payments.

“The threat of ransomware is a national security and economic security priority for the Administration,” she said.

Neuberger outlined the measures the Biden Administration has already taken to modernize cyber defenses, including the recent “Improving the Nation’s Cybersecurity” Executive Order (E.O.) and the Administration’s ongoing efforts to partner with the public and private sectors to strengthen cyber defenses including for critical infrastructure.

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