The ransomware attacks against the United States are taking the form of an epidemic with the recent wave of online assault against the country.
The crucial infrastructure of the United States, vital to national security, is exposed to hackers due to the inefficiency of the administration’s response.
Lately, these hostile attacks have disclosed important governmental information coupled with disintegrating a score of private businesses, not to mention that it even shut down the US oil pipelines temporarily as well.
This surely is a matter of grave concern for all the stakeholders considering the importance of data in this age of Information Technology revolution.
The US Treasury Department has initiated taking action against the ransomware attacks as it enacted sanctions in the cryptocurrency, specifically to tackle the increasing cyberattacks.
As the Treasury Department blacklists a Russia-based cryptocurrency company named Suex, it is a promising initiative in the counteroffensive strategy.
The company was allegedly involved in transactions with ransomware operators and scammers. This is appreciative precedence that can bar other companies from providing grounds to scammers and cybercriminals.
The largest rebel group, named Groove, is showing no mercy at all and has now threatened President Joe Biden as well.
Diplomacy: Not an Ideal Option for the US to Fend Off Ransomware Crisis
The United States is currently embracing the two-tiered process to curb these efforts, diplomacy and strengthening security measures at home.
But none of them is unfortunately promising enough to dismantle these systems permanently.
While the power of diplomacy cannot be overruled in today’s world of complex interdependence, the countries where these groups are operating are almost immune to any diplomatic pressure.
First, Russia is the epicenter of these cyberattacks against the United States. Although President Biden has reiterated his appeal in front of his Russian counterpart, the latter has not taken any effective action yet.
This lack of action at the Russian end is even justified if seen through its own lens.
Both the countries often intrude on each other’s space and are currently engaged in a hybrid warfare model.
Whether it is the United States’ ambitions to team up with its allies in the form of the recently envisioned AUKUS or QUAD, none of these is in the interest of Russia in any sense.
As the US advances towards new alliances, Russia is also busy collaborating with China in avenues of mutual interests; it has even started tackling the US through its increasing military spending in African countries.
Russian-speaking cybercriminal group REvil has successfully brought its servers back online now, which manifests that the Russian president has no plans to curb this ransomware advancement.
The group was allegedly involved in attacking a number of American businesses.
The other two counters that are involved in these ingenious ransomware practices include Iran and North Korea.
To add insult to the injury, the US is currently observing bleak bilateral relations with both of these countries.
So, in its entirety, the US cannot just request any of the countries to stop attacking it online because it is not going to work.
Playing Defensively Will be a Waste of Time for the US
Playing defensively is also an unworkable approach against these sorts of crimes. Cybersecurity is considered one of the most in-demand professions in the contemporary world, making it too expensive for local businesses.
Expecting all private businesses to hire a cyber security expert is like building castles in the air.
The key here is to launch a counteroffensive strategy led by the country’s well-renowned cybersecurity experts.
As proven time and time again, stopping this innate desire of cybercriminals is beyond the scope of any negotiation. Now is the time that the Biden administration takes them on per their own set of rules.
Launching a Counteroffensive: The Ultimate Strategy to Kill Ransomware Attacks
The need for the hour is to target these groups on three possible avenues, i.e., hunting their manpower, sabotaging their finances, and thwarting their online infrastructure.
It will not be a campaign of unprecedented nature, as the US targeted ISIS using the same model back in 2015. As a result, the US-empowered forces successfully disintegrated the ISIS online operations to a great extent.
Employing the same model, the US can disclose the personal information of the perpetrators in its bid to launch a defamation campaign against these groups.
Secondly, the US should try taking their payment servers down, coupled with seizing the cryptocurrency wallets, which they mostly use for the majority of their online activity.
The ransomware cybercriminals primarily accept payments in cryptocurrency through anonymous accounts. If the US successfully manages to enact a security system that could recover ransom amounts, it would be a major development.
This is not something impossible, as the US managed to recover most of the payments made to the cybercriminals in the episode of hacking 5500 miles of an oil pipeline.
Perhaps regulating cryptocurrency further can unlock possible security avenues for the United States. In these times when foreign policy and diplomacy provide meager solutions to the crisis, going down this route seems to be the only option to bring things back to normality.
Eli is a Political Data Scientist with over thirty years of experience in Data Engineering, Analytics, and Digital Marketing. Eli uses his expertise to give the latest information and distinctive analysis on US Political News, US Foreign Affairs, Human Rights, and Racial Justice equipping readers with the inequivalent knowledge.