Ransomware: To Blame or Not to Blame?

As the City of Baltimore continues to recover from the devastating ransomware attack that struck on May 7, 2019, the total incident costs are estimated to be at least $18.2 million, according to the Baltimore Sun. City leaders have not given a timetable for how long the total recovery effort will take, other than saying it could be months.

As the number of U.S. ransomware incidents has skyrocketed, the national discussion has shifted regarding who is to blame for our current predicament.

Some of the broader questions now being asked include:

  • Are creators of destructive malware or cyber tools, which were originally intended for use against foreign adversaries, responsible if those cyber weapons are later reused against friendly targets?
  • What legal responsibility do three-letter agencies have to ensure that hacking tools do not fall into the wrong hands and/or to defend potential victims if the weapons are used against allies?
  • What happens when the military or intelligence agencies fail in their hacking efforts and people, or companies, or governments, get harmed somehow? (Or a corollary: What if bad actors hack back and most Americans don’t have the tools to stop them.)
  • Should victims of ransomware or other cybercrimes be able to sue government agencies who created cyberweapons or tools with non-malicious intent – even if the cybercrime victim failed to take basic, reasonable, well-known, steps to protect themselves? For example, organizations were warned to patch computer systems or perform back-ups, but they failed to act.
  • Can costs incurred by governments from a severe ransomware (or other cyberattack) be reimbursed under the Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (Stafford Act 42 U.S.C. 5721)?
  • Or, put more simply regarding ransomware and other cybercrime incidents: To blame or not to blame (others) – that is the (new (Read more...)

*** This is a Security Bloggers Network syndicated blog from Lohrmann on Cybersecurity authored by Lohrmann on Cybersecurity. Read the original post at: https://www.govtech.com/blogs/lohrmann-on-cybersecurity/ransomware-to-blame-or-not-to-blame.html