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FBI Director Christopher Wray Calls for Coordination to Fight Ransomware Attacks

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FBI Director Christopher Wray said the bureau was investigating approximately 100 various types of ransomware and the recent attacks on oil and meat processing companies accounted for only a fraction of those types of ransomware, The Wall Street Journal reported Friday.

“Now realizing it can affect them when they’re buying gas at the pump or buying a hamburger—I think there’s a growing awareness now of just how much we’re all in this fight together,” Wray told WSJ in an exclusive interview.

He said ransomware attacks have increased by threefold in the past year based on reports from the private sector and many of those incidents can be attributed to hackers in Russia.

Wray highlighted the importance of coordination between companies and law enforcement authorities in identifying those behind the attacks and finding ways to counter threat actors.

“I don’t want to suggest that this is the norm, but there have been instances where we’ve even been able to work with our partners to identify the encryption keys, which then would enable a company to actually unlock their data—even without paying the ransom,” he said.

On Wednesday, the White House issued a memo urging business leaders to initiate immediate measures to protect their organizations from ransomware attacks. 

The document outlined five best practices that companies should take to prevent such attacks, including backing up images and configurations and updating and patching systems promptly.

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