Biden administration, Congress launching efforts to confront ransomware attacks on hospitals

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The Biden administration and Congress are gearing up to confront ransomware attacks on hospitals as the federal government increases its involvement in cybersecurity, according to a May 5 report by The Hill.

"The threat is real. The threat is upon us. The risk is to all of us," Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said at a virtual conference hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Eight things to know:

  1. The Justice Department, the Department of Homeland Security and Capitol Hill are all part of the efforts to tame ransomware attacks, which have spiked since the start of the pandemic.

  2. More than $350 million in victim funds have been paid as a result of ransomware in the past year, Mr. Mayorkas said.

  3. The rate of ransomware has increased by more than 300 percent in the past year.

  4. DHS made tackling ransomware attacks a prime focus in its first of several 60-day sprints to target the problem with the agency's resources.

  5. Mr. Mayorkas said during a separate virtual event that the White House was developing a plan to confront ransomware attacks, but the White House has not announced it yet.

  6. The Justice Department launched a Ransomware and Digital Extortion Task Force in April and will also launch a 120-day review of cybersecurity challenges under Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco's leadership.

  7. Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-N.Y.), the chair of the House Homeland Security cybersecurity subcommittee, said at her subcommittee hearing that ransomware attacks are a national security threat at her subcommittee hearing.

  8. Ms. Clarke will be reintroducing bipartisan legislation to provide local, state, tribal and federal governments with $500 million annually to combat cyberattacks.

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