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Online help center launched for ransomware victims

An online help center for victims of ransomware attacks was launched by the U.S. government on Thursday, with the aim of helping companies and municipalities dealing with cybercrime find resources and receive assistance.

The Homeland Security and Justice departments collaborated to develop StopRansomware.gov, a website dedicated to fighting ransomware. Historically, most of the resources and information organizations needed to deal with ransomware attacks had been dispersed across multiple websites, increasing the chance of missing critical information, the Justice Department said in a statement.

The new website is billed as a ‘central resource center consolidating ransomware resources from all federal government agencies’. The launch of the site follows a ransomware attack against Colonial Pipeline Company during the summer, which led to widespread shortages of gasoline along the East Coast of the United States.

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Colonial Pipeline was later able to recover some $2.3 million in cryptocurrency ransoms paid by hackers with the help of the Justice Department. About $350 million in ransom was paid to cybercriminals in 2020, an increase of more than 300% from the previous year, officials said. The Department of Justice is committed to protecting Americans against the rise in ransomware attacks we have seen in recent years, Attorney General Merrick Garland said.


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