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DHS Warns Small Businesses of Rising Ransomware Attacks


DHS Warns Small Businesses of Rising Ransomware Attacks

The Department of Homeland Security has urged small businesses to proactively protect themselves against ransomware.

Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas, a 2021 Wash100 winner, said hackers target small businesses in particular because of their role as the “backbone of the U.S. economy.”

During an event hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, about 1,500 small and medium-sized business owners heard detailed guidance on best practices against ransomware and other cyber threats.

Experts from the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency and the U.S. Secret Service also participated in a panel discussion to direct the business owners to available cybersecurity resources, DHS said.

The Ransomware Task Force recently reported that the average ransomware payment in the third quarter of 2020 was pegged at $233,817, nearly five times as much as the average ransomware payment from a year before.

The RTF is a private-sector think tank that was convened by the Silicon Valley-based Institute for Security and Technology in January 2019.

Philip Reiner, chief executive of IST and executive director of the RTF, said the increasing scale of ransomware attacks is creating new risks that go beyond financial damage.

DHS has announced plans to work with the RTF in implementing the recommendations in its report, which has four major goals: deter ransomware through a coordinated strategy, disrupt the criminal business model, help organizations prepare for ransomware attacks and help victims respond more effectively, Nextgov reported.

During the U.S. Chamber of Commerce event, Mayorkas announced that the DHS wants to hire 200 cyber professionals by July 1.

DHS added that it will announce more initiatives, resources and partnerships in the coming months to support the Biden administration’s cybersecurity priorities.

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Category: Federal Civilian