PC Matic CEO calls on nation’s newspapers to help combat threat of cyberattacks
The financially hobbled newspaper industry already faced with downsizing, needs to join the fight against the growing cyberattack crisis, a leading ransomware industry executive said Wednesday.
Noting that struggling United States newspapers can play a vital economic role in their communities, PC Matic Chief Executive Officer Rob Cheng on Wednesday called on the nation’s newspaper publishers and editors to play a bigger role in combatting the rising threat of cyberattacks that can strike business, government, schools, hospitals, or all forms of enterprise.
“The American press are the first responders in every city, town, county, and school district that can raise the public conscience and understanding about the threats of ransomware attacks in our society,” said Cheng.
Cheng announced an unusual proposal whereby the U.S. media would work with the FBI and other law enforcement agencies in combatting cyberattacks in many activities of American business and life.
Whether such a cooperative information feed between federal-local law enforcement authorities and the press could feasibly and legally work is unclear. At least with this observer, it might infringe on the freedom of the press amendment issues if the FBI inquires where and how a news reporter compiled information concerning an alleged cyberattack case. This might present constitutional legal questions.
The Contra Costa County Library System was a victim of a cyber security attack, just last month. It affected all library branches and the Martinez administrative offices, which experienced a network outage due to a ransomware attack. The Library worked with the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office and District Attorney’s Office to investigate the attack. (See related article).
Cheng could not address how the United States press can respond to this growing threat to every sector of American business and society when the American newspaper industry is financially under stress.
The news industry has numerically declined with one in five local newspapers closing since 2004 due in part to advertising going to online news startups, according to a 2019 University of North Carolina study.
When asked what the ransomware war has cost United States business, Jeff Gaynor, a retired Army Colonel securities communications officer speaking on behalf of PC Matic, answered, “We don’t know what cyberware attacks have actually cost the U.S. business sector. It’s been swept under the rug.”
But Gaynor said United State insurance companies need to do a better job of controlling the huge $1 billion ransomware payouts to policyholders.
“This is a risk-based decision, you betcha!” said Gaynor.