The US authorities consider ransomware attacks to be acts of terrorism. The United States has been one of the countries most affected by these attacks worldwide.
The United States will punish those who pay ransom in cryptocurrency after suffering ransomware attacks. Although official government sources have yet to announce that news, The Wall Street Journal recently reported it.
According to different media that cite this report, the US government is preparing actions against ransomware. They state that those measures include sanctions against ransom payments in those attacks.
Those who conduct such attacks hijack information directly from devices that belong to the victims. The hackers require them to pay a certain amount of money, usually in Bitcoin (BTC) or Monero (XMR), to return access to their data. Government entities do not advise doing this, as there is no certainty that criminals will fulfill what they have promised.
The US Authorities Seek to Deter Ransomware Attackers
The authorities have not yet clearly specified what measures they will apply in those cases. However, they say that they seek to deter and discourage those conducting such attacks.
According to analysis and monitoring platform Ransomwhere, the losses occurring in July due to these attacks exceeded 60 thousand BTC. For example, the operators behind REvil or Sodinokibi ransomware top the list with more than USD 10 million for data theft. Malicious hacker group DarkSide is in third place after obtaining around USD 4 million.
New government policies and sanctions against ransomware attacks could come to light next week.
What Motivated the United States to Take those Actions
The United States seems to have many reasons to take action against ransom payments in ransomware attacks. Following the Colonial Pipeline event in March, the United States decided to consider such attacks as acts of terrorism.
The pipeline had to suspend its operations due to an extortion attempt by the DarkSide group on May 7th. This band of cybercriminals characterizes itself for requesting payments in Bitcoin or Monero.
The US Authorities Seek to Create a Partnership to Fight Ransomware Attacks
In July, the authorities of the North American country raised the discussion on ransomware in a meeting with the Group of Seven (G7). The United States has been undergoing a series of attacks, which led them to raise the issue. They submitted a document intending to create a partnership between the participating countries to combat these attacks.
There has been controversy over these attacks among political leaders, who attribute them to the existence of cryptocurrencies. For example, Representative Bill Foster felt that the United States should reverse transactions in Bitcoin. Of course, that would be impossible due to the nature of this cryptocurrency’s network.
Authorities in different countries worldwide have Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in their sights as they associate them with illicit activities. However, several studies have revealed that the number of crimes committed with these assets is much lower than those with fiat money.
By Alexander Salazar