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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 7/16/21

A Biden-Putin World Ransomware Summit--In Both Countries' and World's Interest

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NO NATIONS OR COMPANIES OR HOSPITALS, POLICE DEPTS, OR INFRASTRUCTURE WANT TO PAY BLACKMAIL OR SHUT DOWN

By Robert Weiner and Alexandra Reece

When it comes to ransomware, presidents Biden and Putin are blindly shooting around each other instead of taking aim and making change because neither can admit just how involved they are.

The world summit in early June placed restrictions on ransomware and cyberattacks but hackers are already pushing those limits. An attempted Russian attack on the Republican National Committee is just the most recent in the next line of cyberattacks that will continue to "test the red lines" that were put in place.

Following the successful summit, President Biden should ask Putin if he will support a special World Summit on Cyber and Ransomware Blackmail Attacks. The issue is critical and in the "mutual interest" both said they could take actions against. Until then, both sides are involved and currently stuck in a never-ending destructive spiral, together with the rest of the world.

The rest of the world is heavily involved. The U.S, India, Poland and South Africa aren't just part of an Olympics lineup - they are listed in a 2020 survey by IT security company SOPHOS as four of at least 26 countries hurt by ransomware attacks.

Ransomware is much more than a U.S-Russia problem. SOPHOS lists 26 countries in their survey:

Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Czech Republic, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, Nigeria, Philippines, Poland, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, U.A.E, U.K, U.S.

While Russia and the U.S. can start the discussion, those 24 other countries need to be there, too. 26 countries represent billions of people spanning six continents that should be involved in ransomware discussions. The meeting should also utilize companies like FireEye, Norton and McAfee, all of whom have developed solutions to thwart cyberattacks and are continuing their "end-to-end" ongoing research into possible protections.

In interviews before and following the hours of summit discussions between presidents Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin at the June 16 summit, Putin expressed interest in a prisoner swap between their countries, saying "yes, of course."

"Responsible countries need to take action against criminals who conduct ransomware activities on their territory," Biden said.

The U.S. isn't innocent when it comes to ransomware. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers described the Stuxnet virus attack on Iran's nuclear facilities as "nothing more than a long string of computer code" that crippled thousands of machines.

General Michael Hayden, former CIA director under former President G.W. Bush, made an appearance on "60 Minutes" and spilled their secrets about Stuxnet and the Pandora's box it opened on television.

"We have entered into a new phase of conflict," Hayden said.

In 2017, Russia was hurt from a cyberattack using stolen NSA software. Hospitals, railroads and police departments froze as records and data were held hostage.

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