According to the Bloomberg report, Cybersecurity experts, law enforcement agencies, and governments urged the White House to root out safe havens for criminals engaging in ransomware and step up regulation of cryptocurrencies. These are two of 48 recommendations made by a task force in a report Thursday to the Biden administration aimed at fighting the continuing ransomware episodes that plague major corporations, local governments, and healthcare providers across the world.
“The cyber-attacks have become a $350 million criminal industry.”
The task force, organized by the Institute for Security and Technology, noted that the cyber-attacks have become a $350 million criminal industry, a four-fold increase from the previous year. Earlier this month, the U.S. Justice Department created its own independent ransomware task force, signaling growing awareness inside the U.S. government of the now decade-old threat. Ransomware is a type of malicious code that encrypts a victim’s data or network of computers. The hackers then demand a ransom to decrypt the information. The hacker usually demands a ransom to be paid in bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
“Ransomware as a cybercrime is no longer limited to independent cartels.”
John Demers, U.S. assistant attorney general for national security, said that ransomware as cybercrime is no longer limited to independent cartels seeking to hold victims hostage for profit. Instead, countries may be using the attacks as a tool to disrupt government or private operations. Earlier this month, for instance, the U.S. Treasury Department sanctioned Russian entities for helping to facilitate cyber-attacks and tied a Russian intelligence agency to a notorious ransomware group known as Evil Corp. The task force calls for governments to require cryptocurrency exchanges and trading desks to enforce basic “know your customer,” (KYC) anti-money laundering, and financial terrorism laws to curb down ransomware attacks.