According to The Wall Street Journal, the Biden administration plans to introduce new measures to make it harder for hackers to take advantage of ransomware attacks using crypto-currencies. The Treasury Department is expected to impose sanctions and guidance as early as next week aimed at discouraging organizations from using digital currencies to pay for ransoms.
Per The journal, among the measures the agency is considering are fines and other penalties aimed at businesses that collaborate with hackers. Later in the year, the Treasury Department is also expected to implement new regulations against money laundering and terrorist financing to further restrict the use of cryptocurrencies as a payment method for ransoms and other illegal activities.
The incoming sanctions will reportedly exclude specific traders and exchanges instead of throwing a wide net and trying to disrupt the entire crypto ecosystem. In addition to the damage to organizations that may have made ransomware payments possible in the past, the hope is that sanctions will deter most cryptocurrency platforms from processing such transactions in the future.
“This action would be an aggressive, proactive approach to follow people who facilitate ransomware payments,” said Ari Redbord, a former Treasury official. The journal.
The measures would be the last attempt by the Biden administration to tackle the issue of ransomware attacks after a year in which it has increased in frequency and severity. After the attack on the colonial pipeline led to fuel shortages in parts of the US, the president signed an executive order requiring, among other things, information to be shared between federal agencies. More recently, the Department of Homeland Security has laid down mandatory rules calling on pipeline operators to appoint cyber security coordinators and report incidents to the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.
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