CISA Launches Ransomware Warning Pilot for Critical Infrastructure

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency publicly announced that it has established a pilot program to identify vulnerabilities within critical infrastructure systems that are known to be exploited by ransomware groups and threat actors.

According to CISA, the ransomware vulnerability warning pilot—or RVWP—will “identify organizations with internet-accessible vulnerabilities commonly associated with known ransomware actors by using existing services, data sources, technologies and authorities, including our free Cyber Hygiene Vulnerability Scanning service.”

The RVWP first began on 30th January when CISA contacted 93 organizations “identified as running instances of Microsoft Exchange Service with a vulnerability called ‘ProxyNotShell,’ which has been widely exploited by ransomware actors.”

“This initial round of notifications demonstrated the effectiveness of this model in enabling timely risk reduction as we further scale the RVWP to additional vulnerabilities and organizations,” CISA said.

The pilot program was created in response to the Cyber Incident Reporting for Critical Infrastructure Act, or CIRCIA, a 2022 law that required CISA “to develop and implement regulations requiring covered entities to report covered cyber incidents and ransomware payments” to the agency. CISA said the RVWP would be “coordinated by and aligned with the Joint Ransomware Task Force,” an interagency body that was also established by CIRCIA.

"Ransomware attacks continue to cause untenable levels of harm to organizations across the country, including target rich, resource poor entities like many school districts and hospitals,” Eric Goldstein, CISA’s executive assistant director for cybersecurity, said in a statement. “The RVWP will allow CISA to provide timely and actionable information that will directly reduce the prevalence of damaging ransomware incidents affecting American organizations.”

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