Treasury sanctions crypto exchange SUEX for aiding ransomware thefts
The Biden administration is taking steps to guard against ransomware attacks by penalizing cryptocurrency exchanges that facilitate illegal attacks, while establishing guidelines for companies to protect against these attacks.
In its most forceful actions to date, the US Treasury will impose sanctions on Suex – a virtual currency exchange that has conducted transactions involving illegal profits for at least eight different ransomware attacks. Analysis of known SUEX transactions shows that over 40% of the exchange’s known transaction history is associated with illegal actors.
By sanctioning crypto exchanges, the Treasury hopes to make it harder for ransomware gangs to operate and make it harder for attackers to use the cryptocurrency to extract ransoms from companies.
In May, Colonial, one of the largest oil pipelines in the United States, became a bombing that forced the company to temporarily shut down some of its operations. It ultimately cost them over $ 4 million in bitcoins () and led to gas shortages nationwide.
Virtual currency exchanges like Suex are critical to the profitability of ransomware attacks, which help fund cybercrime activities. Some virtual currency exchanges can be exploited by hackers, but others, like SUEX, facilitate illegal activities for their benefit.
“As cybercriminals use increasingly sophisticated methods and technologies, we are committed to using the full range of measures, including sanctions and regulatory tools, to disrupt, deter and prevent ransomware attacks,” said Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in a statement.
Today’s action serves as a kick-off, with the government continuing to research other crypto exchanges or components of the digital asset ecosystem that are being manipulated by bad actors, as well as considering other actions that can be taken to deter attacks.
The Treasury Department is also examining the role “mixers” play in facilitating illegal transactions, essentially making coins less traceable. Treasury officials plan to work with other agencies, including the FBI, to disrupt ransomware payments.
In taking action against Suex, the government is also outlining steps private companies can take to guard against ransomware attacks. The government strongly discourages companies from making ransomware payments. In the event a business feels it has no choice but to pay, officials encourage businesses to report the attack to law enforcement as soon as possible.
The government is also encouraging companies to invest in cyber defenses while forming partnerships with the private sector to share information and guard against any future attacks. One of the incentives the administration is working on is cyber insurance. To get companies to strengthen their cyber protection, the government is working with cyber insurers to offer lower insurance premiums to companies that invest in cyber protections such as encryption, multi-factor identification. The administration is in talks with the cyber insurance industry about the incentives.
Ransomware attacks against U.S. infrastructure have escalated over the past two years, reaching over $ 400 million in ransomware payments last year, four times the payment level in 2019. In addition to Colonial, the International cybercriminals have also targeted JBS Foods International, the country’s second largest. biggest meat producer this year.
Next month, the White House will host a meeting with international partners to counter ransomware efforts.
For more information on cryptocurrency, see:
What is Dogecoin? How to buy it
Ethereum: What is it and how do you invest in it?
The 21 best crypto leaders to watch in the second half of 2021
Follow Yahoo Finance on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Flipboard, LinkedIn, Youtube, and reddit