In 2020 alone, FBI acquired studies of two,474 ransomware assaults involving losses of greater than $29.1 million, a 20% enhance in reported ransomware incidents and a 225% enhance in ransom quantities demanded by hackers since 2019
Washington (October 8, 2021) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Congressman Ted Lieu (CA-33), and Congressman Jim Langevin (RI-02) at present despatched letters to the Division of Justice, the Division of the Treasury, the Division of State, and the Division of Homeland Safety urging the businesses to pursue all choices accessible to guard American communities and infrastructure from the rising risk of ransomware.
Ransomware assaults — which happen when a legal entity makes use of malicious software program to lock or encrypt a sufferer’s pc system or information and calls for a ransom cost to unlock the system or retrieve the information — are an more and more troublesome, harmful, and costly downside for presidency, personal firms, and small companies throughout the nation. The proliferation of cryptocurrency has facilitated an explosive development in ransomware assaults, largely by providing straightforward, quick, and difficult-to-trace strategies for laundering illicit features.
“We consider that growing enforcement of present cash laundering and monetary crimes statutes would play an essential function in deterring ransomware assaults and facilitating the restoration of cryptocurrency paid to ransomware attackers,” write the lawmakers of their letter to Lawyer Common Merrick Garland, Secretary Janet Yellen, Secretary Antony Blinken, and Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. “We additionally acknowledge the sensible and technological challenges concerned in efforts to grab cryptocurrency ransoms. Many ransomware assaults originate in jurisdictions exterior the attain of U.S. home legislation enforcement, requiring U.S. businesses to work with international companions and cryptocurrency exchanges so as to seize ransomware funds or different associated belongings.”
“Extra to the purpose, many risk actors reside in nations equivalent to Russia, China, and North Korea, international locations which have actively or tacitly supported ransomware assaults towards america and interfered with U.S. efforts to expatriate cryptocurrency ransoms,” the lawmakers continued. “To deal with the rising risk of ransomware assaults, U.S. businesses should pursue a complete enforcement strategy involving each home and worldwide companions.”
With the intention to assist perceive how Congress can help the Biden administration in addressing the function of cryptocurrency in facilitating ransomware assaults, the lawmakers additionally requested the businesses to reply to questions that embody:
- In what methods has america labored with companions inside regional organizations and worldwide organizations to attribute ransomware assaults and maintain unhealthy actors accountable?
- How is america working with its shut allies to develop norms and greatest practices round enforcement associated to illicit monetary transactions that make the most of cryptocurrency?
- How have your businesses coordinated with international counterparts to find and repatriate cryptocurrency belongings? For assaults implicating nations that haven’t signed a Mutual Authorized Help Treaty with america, how have your businesses pursued recovering cryptocurrency ransoms?
- Prior to now 5 years, what number of makes an attempt have been made to grab cryptocurrency belongings from ransomware attackers? What obstacles have your businesses confronted when making an attempt to get well the total quantity of cryptocurrency ransoms?
- Would DOJ want particular statutory authority to direct asset forfeiture funds again into endpoint safety and different cybersecurity defenses, or to supply help to victims?
- What sources or authorities, if any, do your businesses want from Congress so as to higher coordinate with accomplice nations on illicit exercise facilitated by way of cryptocurrency exchanges or to grab ill-gotten digital belongings?