US military hacking unit targets cyber criminals behind ransomeware attacks

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The U.S. military’s hacking unit is taking steps to combat cybercriminal groups that have conducted ransomware attacks on American companies. 

A spokesperson for the unit, known as Cyber Command, did not specify what the actions would entail; however, this is one of the first and most direct acknowledgements that the group is targeting criminal entities that attack the computer systems of U.S. businesses, according to CNN

These actions come after ransomware attacks on Colonial Pipeline, which supplies roughly 45 percent of the East Coast’s fuel, and JBS USA, one of the largest meat suppliers in the country, took place earlier this year. 

Gen. Paul M. Nakasone, who leads the Cyber Command and serves as the director of the National Security Agency, told The New York Times that the government previously saw ransomware attacks as the responsibility of law enforcement.

Nakasone added that attacks like the one at Colonial Pipeline, however, demonstrated that the criminal groups leading the attacks are “impacting our critical infrastructure,” noting that the government would now take a more hands-on approach to dealing with this threat.

In the past year, cyber threats have ramped up following a series of major attacks on federal agencies and other organizations.

After the attack on Colonial Pipeline, the company was able to resume its normal business operations after paying a ransom of the equivalent of $4.4 million in Bitcoin. At the time, President BidenJoe BidenChina eyes military base on Africa’s Atlantic coast: report Biden orders flags be flown at half-staff through Dec. 9 to honor Dole Biden heading to Kansas City to promote infrastructure package MORE confirmed that the attack was carried out by a criminal group based in Russia, though it was not backed by the Russian government itself. 

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