A new US bill would force companies to disclose ransomware payments

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A newly proposed law would force businesses in the US to disclose any ransomware payments within 48 hours of the transaction.

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bicameral ransom disclosure act, drafted by Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Rep. Deborah Ross, will mandate companies and organizations — though not individuals — to provide US Department of Homeland Security data on ransomware payments, including the amount and type of cryptocurrency demanded and payment. The amount paid is included. .

The bill aims to strengthen the US government’s understanding of how cybercriminal enterprises operate and help authorities develop a more complete picture of the ransomware threat. While the ransom is typically paid in bitcoin, security experts say that threat actors are increasingly turning to “privacy coins” such as Monero, making it harder for investigators to trace. that’s where the money goes.

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The Ransom Disclosure Act would also require Homeland Security to set up a website for organizations that voluntarily report ransom payments, as well as for paying entities to share information disclosed during the previous year. except the information in . Similar efforts already exist by security researchers.

Warren says these measures are needed because of the “sky” number of ransomware attacks; Attacks in North America increased by 158% last year, and Victims worldwide paid nearly $350 million In ransoms – an increase of more than 300% compared to 2019, data shows. What’s more, recent research found that ransom payments account for just 20% of the total cost of a ransomware attack, with businesses recovering most of their losses through lost productivity and post-attack recovery. .

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“We lack critical data to trace cybercriminals,” Warren said. with my bill [Representative] When the ransom is paid Ross will set disclosure requirements and allow us to learn how much money cybercriminals are taking from US entities to finance criminal enterprises – and help us get behind them. “

This is not the only strategy the US is adopting to crack down on ransomware.

Last month, for example, the Treasury Department issued a first of its kind sanctions against cryptocurrency exchange Suex for its role in facilitating ransom payments, after finding that 40% of its total transactions More than % was associated with poor activity. The Treasury recently warned US companies that they are prohibited from paying threat actors located in countries subject to US sanctions.

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