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US allies vow cooperation on cybercrime

US national security adviser Jake Sullivan. (AFP-Yonhap)
US national security adviser Jake Sullivan. (AFP-Yonhap)
The US allies -- about 30 countries including South Korea, Japan, the UK and Canada -- vowed to bolster cooperation to combat the growing threat of ransomware and other cybercrimes, at an online session hosted by the White House National Security Council, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Friday.

The two-day meeting, which ended Thursday, took place as the US seeks to broaden oversight of the cryptocurrency market after ransomware attacks recently destabilized its food and energy supplies.

Ransom software works by encrypting victims’ data, which is held hostage until they make payments, often in cryptocurrency, that could be worth up to millions of dollars.

The Foreign Ministry said countries at the virtual meeting, called the Counter-Ransomware Initiative, agreed to improve law enforcement collaboration on issues such as money laundering using cryptocurrency.

“Ransomware is an escalating global security threat with serious economic and security consequences,” a joint statement read. “Governments recognize the need for urgent action, common priorities and complementary efforts to reduce the risk of ransomware.”

The session was seen as an attempt to counter what the US calls China’s “malicious cyber activity.” In July, Washington accused Beijing of a global cyberespionage campaign, which US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said threatens US national security. China dismissed the accusations as fabricated.

By Choi Si-young (