US Secretary of Energy Opposes Ransomware Payments, Calls for Better “Cyber Defenses”
US Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm speaks about the shutdown of the Colonial Pipeline cyberattack during a press briefing at the White House in Washington, May 11, 2021.
Kevin Lamarque | Reuters
US Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm said on Sunday she opposed companies paying for criminal ransomware and said companies targeted by cyber attacks must alert the federal government.
Opponents of the United States have the capacity to shut down the country’s power grid, Granholm said, saying there were “thousands of attacks on all aspects of the energy sector.”
Pressure is mounting for the US government and the private sector to better guard against cyber attacks following an attack on the world’s largest meat packer last weekend and one in May targeting the world’s largest fuel pipeline the United States.
“We all need to improve our game when it comes to cyber defenses,” she said in an interview with CNN.
The bottom line is that people – whether you’re in the private sector, the public sector, whatever – you shouldn’t be paying for ransomware attacks, because that only encourages the bad guys.
In a separate interview on Sunday, Granholm said that while she opposes such payments, she is not sure whether US President Joe Biden or Congress is prepared to make ransomware payments illegal.
Companies should be required to report ransomware attacks, Democratic Senator Mark Warner of Virginia said in an interview with NBC on Sunday, although he did not say he supported the illegality of those payments.