Upcoming US Sanctions Aim to Drive Out Crypto Ransomware Payments

Crypto, Ransomware, Payments, Sanctions

The U.S. Treasury Department is expected to impose sanctions and issue new guidance to stop ransomware hackers from profiting from attacks, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday (Sept. 17).

New mandates against money laundering and terror financing are also coming down the pike by year’s end that aim to curb the use of digital currency as a payment instrument in ransomware and other illegal practices. These latest moves by the Biden administration intend to subvert the digital currency landscape that has served as a conduit for the escalation of ransomware attacks.

See also: White House Announces Ransomware Task Force

Aside from disrupting businesses, the continual rise of cyberattacks is being called a threat to national security. This year alone saw cyberattacks on a major fuel pipeline, national meat producer and numerous financial and health institutions.

It’s anticipated that the sanctions will go after specific targets and won’t look to take down the infrastructure where the crimes were suspected of happening. Aside from hitting purported marks, the sanctions are expected to serve as a deterrent to hackers, many of whom are thought to be based in Russia, according to reports.

See: FBI To Congress: Banning Ransomware Payouts Could Backfire

Cyberthieves demanding ransoms usually dictate that payment be made in digital currency, a point of contention between regulators and cryptocurrency platform operators. Lawmakers are striving to balance law and order against growth and innovation.

Among other initiatives, the Treasury Department handed down new reporting rules concerning international cryptocurrency transactions and for those that take place outside of central exchanges, per the WSJ. While the goal is increased transparency, security experts have said that those mandates could stifle some criminal activity.

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The blockchain’s digital transaction footprints linked to ransomware attacks have been shown to have payments remitted to accounts in the former Soviet Union states of Eastern Europe, according to the Crypto analytics firm Chainalysis.