USA initiates $50m incentive program to thwart ransomware threats

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In a groundbreaking move, the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has introduced a $50 million initiative aimed at bolstering cybersecurity defenses for healthcare companies nationwide, particularly against the rising threat of ransomware attacks.

Dubbed the Universal PatchinG and Remediation for Autonomous DEfense (UPGRADE) program, this initiative marks a pivotal step towards fortifying the healthcare sector’s resilience against various cyber threats. Initially, the focus will be on combating file-encrypting malware, with plans to address other threats such as Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks and phishing schemes in subsequent phases.

The UPGRADE program, also referred to as UPGRADE, will prioritize hardware and software upgrades within healthcare facilities to proactively mitigate a spectrum of cyber assaults. This funding boost will provide crucial support to clinics and hospitals seeking to enhance their security infrastructure but facing financial constraints.

By leveraging the resources offered by the UPGRADE program, hospitals can address known vulnerabilities in their software systems, which account for nearly half of all cyber incidents globally. Additionally, participants in the program can access expertise and guidance on navigating cyber incidents, both during and after an attack.

Furthermore, the initiative aims to establish a central hub for knowledge sharing, enabling stakeholders to collaboratively develop strategies for effectively managing cyber threats. This repository will serve as a valuable resource for healthcare organizations seeking to enhance their cybersecurity posture and respond swiftly to emerging threats.

Meanwhile, in a similar move, the Australian government had proposed a comparable initiative to strengthen national cybersecurity infrastructure. However, plans were delayed as policymakers deliberated expanding the program to encompass the broader business sector rather than solely focusing on healthcare. The decision to postpone the initiative reflects a broader strategic shift towards encouraging private sector engagement in bolstering cybersecurity efforts nationwide.

Naveen Goud
Naveen Goud is a writer at Cybersecurity Insiders covering topics such as Mergers & Acquisitions, Startups, Cyber Attacks, Cloud Security and Mobile Security

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