In a country badly damaged by this event, it is not trivial to compare the wave of ransomware attacks with the attacks of September 11, 2001. But that is exactly what FBI Director Christopher Wray chose in an interview with the Wall Street Journal.
According to him, “there are many parallels, there is a lot of meaning and we are very focused on disruption and prevention”. Because these attacks affect everyone “from federal agencies to private actors, but they also hit the average American.”
100 ransomware variants examined
The general public was actually able to discover the potential impact of these threats through two emblematic hacks in the past few weeks. The cybercriminal group Darkside managed to shut down the Colonial Pipeline network, which supplies almost 45% of the fuel consumed on the east coast. Hackers also managed to take JBS, the world’s largest meat processing company, hostage.
Indeed, these two emblematic facts are only a small fraction of the threat. Christopher Wray claims the FBI is working on each of the 100 variants of malware that are behind several ransomware attacks in the United States.
The complaints to the federal police had tripled in the past year, he said. The cost to the private sector soars and can sometimes reach hundreds of millions, in some cases billions of dollars.
During that interview, the director pointed a finger at Russia, claiming that it is home to a large number of these ransomware users. He calls on the government to act “if it wants to show that it takes this issue seriously”. He can show real progress, but we don’t see any so far.
In any case, ransomware is taken very seriously by the Biden administration. The Ministry of Justice has just asked all public prosecutors in the country to work with a working group that has just been established at the federal level. It will centralize information for greater efficiency.