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Microsoft and McAfee wants to kill off ransomware forever

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A number of technology firms have grouped together with a focus on stopping ransomware attacks. 

Named the Ransomware Task Force (RTF), the association is made up of 19 technology companies including the likes of Microsoft, the Institute for Security and Technology (IST), and McAfee, with the Windows 10 (opens in new tab) developer the most high-profile name present.

The group will explore ways of significantly reducing the threat posed by ransomware attacks, identifying technological solutions, and developing a standardized antivirus framework for all industries to follow.

“Ransomware incidents have been growing unchecked, and this economically destructive cybercrime has increasingly led to dangerous, physical consequences,” the IST blog explained (opens in new tab).

“Hospitals, school districts, city governments, and others have found their networks held hostage by malicious actors seeking payouts. This crime transcends sectors and requires bringing all affected stakeholders to the table to synthesize a clear framework of actionable solutions, which is why IST and our coalition of partners are launching this Task Force for a two-to-three month sprint.”

A difficult task

Although ransomware may not be the most financially damaging type of cyberattack that befalls businesses, it certainly seems to have grown in prominence of late. Foxconn (opens in new tab), Kmart (opens in new tab), and Equinix (opens in new tab) represent just a few of the businesses to be hit by high-profile ransomware attacks this year.

In addition to attackers gaining access to what is often sensitive information, ransomware attacks can cause huge disruption, locking firms out of core systems. Not only can this lead to significant financial costs – whether the ransom is paid or now – it can be reputationally damaging too.

The Ransomware Task Force website will be launching next month when full membership and leadership details are expected to be announced.

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Via ZDNet (opens in new tab)

Barclay has been writing about technology for a decade, starting out as a freelancer with ITProPortal covering everything from London’s start-up scene to comparisons of the best cloud storage services.  After that, he spent some time as the managing editor of an online outlet focusing on cloud computing, furthering his interest in virtualization, Big Data, and the Internet of Things.