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According to the Wall Street Journal, the Biden administration is planning a range of steps, including penalties, to make it more difficult for hackers to benefit from ransomware operations by using digital money.
The Treasury Department intends to apply these additional penalties as early as next week, according to the Journal. The sanctions, according to reports, would target particular traders and cryptocurrency exchanges with the goal of discouraging exchanges from executing these transactions when they occur. In addition, the government will publish fresh guidelines to firms on the dangers they face by responding with ransomware payment requests. The Treasury Department did not respond to requests for comment.
These suggested steps would be the Biden administration’s most major response to the recent spate of ransomware assaults, which have risen in scope and regularity. Colonial Pipeline, one of the largest pipelines in the United States, was shut down in May due to a ransomware assault. The firm paid the terrorists a ransom of more than $4 million to reopen the pipeline. Howard University shuttered earlier this month after a ransomware assault disrupted the school’s computer and technology capabilities.
President Biden issued an executive order in May making it simpler for the government and private sector to share information in the aftermath of cyberattacks. The directive also mandated that government agencies implement multi-factor authentication in their systems.
The Biden administration is set to release new anti-money laundering and terror funding guidelines later this year, limiting the use of cryptocurrencies for ransomware payments.