Bloomberg Law
June 3, 2021, 12:14 PM

White House Tells Execs To ‘Immediately’ Review Ransomware Plans

Justin Sink
Justin Sink
Bloomberg News

The White House told corporate leaders they should immediately begin developing plans to counter ransomware attacks after a spate of hacks have crippled key U.S. businesses, from Colonial Pipeline Co. to global meat producer JBS SA.

“To understand your risk, business executives should immediately convene their leadership teams to discuss the ransomware threat and review corporate security posture and business continuity plans to ensure you have the ability to continue or quickly restore operation,” Biden deputy national security adviser Anne Neuberger wrote in a memo distributed by the White House.

The stark warning is the latest effort in the scramble by the Biden administration to respond to the recent attacks, which have also impacted health services in multiple European countries, insurance firm CNA Financial Corp., and even a ferry authority operating in Martha’s Vineyard.

The White House urged companies to create offline backups of crucial information that can be easily restored if they’re subject to ransomware attacks, and to update and patch their IT systems regularly. The administration also suggested employing a third party to check the work of corporate IT teams and testing incident response plans to see how long companies would be able to sustain business operations without access to certain systems.

“The U.S. Government is working with countries around the world to hold ransomware actors and the countries who harbor them accountable, but we cannot fight the threat posed by ransomware alone,” Neuberger said.

In addition to the memo released Thursday, the White House has said it is expanding its cryptocurrency analysis efforts to pursue criminal transactions and is reviewing its own ransomware policies. And Biden plans to raise the issue in a meeting later this month with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Geneva; many of the high-profile attacks have been carried out by groups based in Russia.

Read more: Russia-Linked Group Behind JBS Attack Revels in ‘Audaciousness’

To contact the reporter on this story:
Justin Sink in Washington at

To contact the editors responsible for this story:
Alex Wayne at

Kathleen Hunter, Magan Crane

© 2021 Bloomberg L.P. All rights reserved. Used with permission.