October 6, 2021

Senator Elizabeth Warren has proposed examining the value of cryptocurrencies to ransomware

Senator Elizabeth Warren has proposed examining the value of cryptocurrencies to ransomware

Victims of ransomware attacks would be required to report information about payments made to the attackers to DHS. This is the proposal in a ransomware disclosure bill from Senate members Elizabeth Warren and Deborah Ross of the House of Representatives.

The initiative aims to create a "fuller picture" regarding ransomware attacks.

The bill would find out how much money cybercriminals are siphoning from US organisations. It would provide a basis for prosecuting them, the accompanying commentary reads.

The document would also support research by the Secretary of Homeland Security's team into the role of cryptocurrencies in such offences.

The information gathered will be used to make recommendations to improve the country's cybersecurity.

According to Ross, US investors have no obligation to disclose payments made to extortionists, which could be key to countering their attacks.

If passed, the bill would require victims to report the amounts and digital currencies involved in the payments, as well as any information about the perpetrators, within 48 hours on a specially created DHS website.

The accompanying commentary cites statistics about ransomware attacks increasing by 62% globally and 158% in North America in 2020. Payouts to attackers quadrupled to $350 million, including a 170% increase in the average amount, to $312,000.

Recall that in June, House of Representatives member Bill Foster said that encryption software could bury bitcoin's reputation in Congressional consideration of its status.

Prior to that, US President Joe Biden had ordered a study of cryptocurrency transaction tracking as an option to combat ransomware viruses.

Warren later stated that digital assets have made it easier to commit crimes. She cited ransomware attacks on Colonial Pipeline and JBS as examples.

The media subsequently reported that investigations into such incidents in the US were given the same level of priority as terrorism cases.

In September, Senator Maggie Hassan sent a letter to a number of agencies expressing concern about the use of cryptocurrency as ransomware for ransomware.

In the same month, the media reported that the Joe Biden administration was preparing a series of measures to crack down on cryptocurrency payments to the hackers behind the attacks of such viruses.

Jack Evans

About the author

I became a crypto asset owner in 2014, when the industry was in its infancy. Before that, I was working in the classic US and European stock markets. Since then, I have gained extensive experience in both cryptocurrency investing and day trading. I am happy to share with readers my experience with crypto exchanges, DeFi and NFT instruments. 

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