The US Treasury Department warns against paying hackers
The US Treasury Department warns against paying hackers

The US Treasury Department has warned that cyber insurers and other financial institutions that pay hackers to stop cyber attacks may violate sanctions rules.

The administration said it may be illegal to facilitate ransom payments to punished infiltrators, warning that even if the middleman or the victim does not know that hackers seeking ransom are subject to US sanctions, they may be prosecuted. .

The warning comes from the US Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) and Financial Crimes Network (FinCEN) and concerns malware known as ransomware.

Hackers use ransomware to shut down systems, encrypt devices that control everything from hospital bills to manufacturing, and take company data hostage through payment.

Hackers only stop after receiving huge sums of money usually paid in cryptocurrency, and companies often pay a ransom for their data.

These warnings have worried internet insurance companies once again. Given the high demand for expensive ransomware in recent years, they have tried to raise the interest rate and reduce the risk. the customer.

Internet policies typically include ransomware, data recovery, liability, and the original speaking negotiators for hackers.

During a pandemic, the demand for ransomware increases as people work remotely and hackers target online systems.

According to Coveware's data, the average ransomware spending increased 60% between the first quarter and the second quarter to 178,254. The program helped negotiate and facilitate electronic ransom payments.

Somon Danteki, a lawyer at King & Spalding LLC, who advises on national security and internet issues, said insurance companies and advanced financial institutions are aware of the concerns about sanctions.

He added, "If the insured chooses to pay, this type of public advice will affect the accounts."

The U.S. Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control noted that the 2015 cyberattacks were tracked and linked to hackers in North Korea and Russia in sanctioned countries.

The United States can impose economic and trade sanctions on countries that promote terrorism or violate human rights.

Financial institutions that interact with them or with specific people can be prosecuted and punished.

The second report from the Financial Crimes Network (FinCEN) highlights the evolution of the forensic industry, which can help organizations respond to cyberattacks, including processing payments.

These warnings are a game-changer as companies can decide in advance to pay cybercriminals. But after the government reviewed these decisions, the situation changed, which means that these incidents are better dealt with. strict.

If cybersecurity companies are helpful with providing ransom payments, they may need to register as financial services companies to highlight the previously inadequate regulation of the cybersecurity industry.

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