Democrats urge federal agencies to fight against use of cryptocurrencies for ransomware payments

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A group of Democrats on Friday urged the Biden administration to do more to deal with the increasing use of cryptocurrency markets in ransomware attacks, which have become a growing national security threat over the past decade. past year.

Sense. Ed markeyEd MarkeyHillicon Valley – Brought to you by American Edge Project – Americans Blame Politicians, Social Media For Spread Of Disinformation: Poll Democrats Urge Federal Agencies To Combat Use Of Cryptocurrency For Overnight Energy Ransomware Payments & Environment – Biden to restore national monuments canceled by Trump MORE (D-Mass.), Sheldon White HouseSheldon Whitehouse Hillicon Valley – Brought to you by American Edge Project – Americans Blame Politicians, Social Media For Spread Of Disinformation: Poll Democrats Urge Federal Agencies To Combat Use Of Cryptocurrency For Ransomware Payments Tax new plastic is the cheapest way to reduce its environmental impact MORE (DR.I.), and Reps. Jim langevinJames (Jim) R. Langevin Hillicon Valley – Brought to you by American Edge Project – Americans Blame Politicians and Social Media for Spreading Disinformation: Poll Democrats Urge Federal Agencies to Combat Use of Cryptocurrencies for ransomware payments Biden signs bill to strengthen cybersecurity for K-12 PLUS schools (DR.I.) and Ted LocationTed W. Lieu Hillicon Valley – Brought to you by American Edge Project – Americans Blame Politicians and Social Media for Spread of Disinformation: Poll Democrats Urge Federal Agencies to Combat Use of Cryptocurrencies for Ransomware Payments The first senator officially endorses Bass in the candidacy of the mayor of LA PLUS (D-California) sent a letter Friday to the heads of the departments of Homeland Security, Justice, State and Treasury asking them to continue “stronger coordination” between agencies on the issue of cryptocurrency.

They pointed to a massive increase in ransomware attacks, with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaints Center receiving reports of nearly 2,500 ransomware attacks with losses of over $ 29 million in 2020.

“The proliferation of cryptocurrency has facilitated this explosive growth in ransomware attacks, in large part by providing easy, quick and hard-to-trace methods to launder illicit gains,” the lawmakers wrote. “We believe that increased enforcement of existing laws on money laundering and financial crimes would play an important role in deterring ransomware attacks and facilitating the recovery of cryptocurrency paid to ransomware attackers.”

They asked the agencies to answer a series of questions by the end of the month on how cryptocurrency exchanges are involved in ransomware attacks, and highlighted the threat of focusing on this issue.

“The rapid increase in ransomware attacks not only has a financial impact on local governments and businesses, but also threatens US national security, as ransomware can disrupt critical infrastructure and capture sensitive data,” said writes lawmakers.

The Hill has contacted the agencies to which the letter was sent for comment. DHS declined to comment, while a State Department spokesperson pointed out that the federal government is working hard to counter ransomware attacks.

“The U.S. government is pursuing a focused and integrated effort to disrupt ransomware players and the ransomware ecosystem, build resilience to defend against ransomware attacks, position the public and private sectors to respond and recover more quickly from incidents,” and work closely with international partners to hold criminals and the states that harbor them accountable, ”the spokesperson said in a statement provided to The Hill.

“The disruption of the criminal use of cryptocurrency is a key part of this effort,” they said. “The uneven implementation of anti-money laundering / terrorist financing (AML / CFT) requirements for virtual currency internationally prevents the US government from disrupting money laundering associated with ransomware. The State Department is investing in capacity building efforts to ensure appropriate regulation and implementation of “know your customer” and other AML / CFT controls for virtual currency exchanges abroad. “

The Democrats who signed the letter are not the first lawmakers to worry about this issue. Senator Maggie HassanMargaret (Maggie) Hassan Democrats Urge Federal Agencies To Fight Use Of Cryptocurrencies For Ransomware Payments Senate Close To Avoiding Debt Crisis Is Virginia Running In Problems much deeper to Democrats? FOLLOWING (DN.H.) letters sent to several federal agencies in September asking them to crack down on the use of cryptocurrency exchanges for criminal practices.

Concerns about cryptocurrency exchanges have increased in recent months following a series of major ransomware attacks in which hackers have used cryptocurrency exchanges for the payment of victims in order to make it more difficult for authorities to trace the funds.

These attacks included those against Colonial Pipeline and meat producer JBS USA, both of which chose to pay the ransoms in bitcoin. After the attack, however, the Justice Department was able to recover the majority of the $ 4.4 million in bitcoins paid by Colonial.

Several agencies have already taken action to tackle hackers’ use of cryptocurrency in ransomware attacks, including the Treasury Department, which last month sanctioned Suex OTC for allegedly facilitating ransomware payments, its first sanctions against a virtual currency exchange.

The Department of Justice also moves in space. Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco announced earlier this week that the agency is setting up a national cryptocurrency enforcement team to “dismantle” cryptocurrency exchanges used to facilitate ransomware payments by victims .

“Cryptocurrency exchanges want to be the banks of the future, well, we have to make sure that people have confidence when they use these systems, and we have to make sure that we are prepared to eliminate the abuses that can occur. install on them, ”Monaco said when she announced the group at the Aspen Institute’s virtual cyber summit.

-Update at 6:15 p.m.


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