Categories: Tech

Washington Steps Forward In Its Fight Against Ransomware: $ 10 Million Reward | Voice Of America

The Department of State will offer rewards of up to $ 10 million for information leading to the identification of anyone involved in malicious cyber activities sanctioned by a foreign state against critical U.S. infrastructure, including ransomware attacks, and the The White House has created a commission to coordinate efforts to stop its scourge. President Joe Biden’s administration is also launching the stopransomware.gov website to offer the public resources to counter the threat and build more resilience across networks, a senior government official told reporters. Another measure to be adopted is the creation of the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. It will involve banks, technology companies and other players in enhancing anti-money laundering initiatives using cryptocurrencies and faster tracking of ransomware proceeds, which are paid for in virtual currency. Ransomware attacks: to pay or not to pay? Businesses and other organizations targeted have to choose between paying a ransom to regain control of their computer networks or refuse and lose irreplaceable data and the ability to resume operations. Officials hope to seize more extortion payments in ransomware cases, as the FBI did in recovering most of the $ 4.4 million ransom paid by Colonial Pipeline in May. The rewards are offered under the Department of State’s Rewards for Justice program. It will offer a dark web reporting and suggestion mechanism to protect sources that could identify cyber attackers and their locations, and reward payments may include cryptocurrencies, the agency said in a statement. REvil’s Disappearance The administration official declined to comment on whether the US government was involved in the online disappearance Tuesday of REvil, the Russia-linked gang responsible for a supply chain ransomware attack on July 2. which crippled more than 1,000 organizations around the world by targeting the software vendor, Kaseya. Ransomware encrypts entire networks of data, which criminals unlock only when paid. Data hijacking or ‘ransomware’: a threat to national security Cyberattacks have gone from targeting individuals and requesting small amounts of money to targeting large companies and corporations who are asked for millions of dollars in ransom for their databases. Cybersecurity experts say that REvil may have decided to disappear and change its name, as they have done in the past, along with other ransomware gangs, to try to get rid of law enforcement. Another possibility is that Russian President Vladimir Putin actually heeded President Joe Biden’s warning about the repercussions if he failed to control ransomware criminals, who enjoy a safe harbor in Russia and its allied states. However, that seems unlikely, given Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov’s statement to journalists on Wednesday that he was not aware of the disappearance of the REvil sites. “I don’t know which group disappeared or where,” he said. He said the Kremlin considers cybercrime “unacceptable” and deserves punishment, but analysts say they have seen no evidence of a crackdown by Putin. Connect with the Voice of America! Subscribe to our YouTube channel and activate notifications; or, follow us on social networks: Facebook, Twitter

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