International Community Eyes Crypto, Calls For Greater Scrutiny To Stop Ransomware

International Community Eyes Crypto, Calls For Greater Scrutiny To Stop Ransomware

In a joint statement published by the White House, members from the Counter Ransomware Initiative acknowledged that crypto could be facilitating ransomware attacks around the world.

Representatives from the European Union, Canada, United Arab Emirate, the United, Kingdom, the United States, and others from the international community took part in a virtual meeting on October 13th and 14th. Therein, they discussed the “escalating global security threat from ransomware”.

In the U.S. alone these types of attacks have wreaked havoc in 2021. As Bitcoinist reported, bad actors have been hitting hundreds of U.S.-based companies and using crypto as a way to obtain monetary compensation.

The ransom demanded by these groups in Bitcoin and other cryptos can reach millions of U.S. dollars and threaten the operation stability of major infrastructure companies, such as the Colonial Pipeline.

This company handles an important percentage of the oil that goes through the U.S. western coast. Its operations were halted in June as hackers took over and demanded a crypto payment of over $2 million.

In that sense, the Counter Ransomware Initiate recognized the surge in these attacks against multiple sectors and called for “urgent action, common priorities, and complementary efforts to reduce” to reduce their risk. The members said:

(This) Efforts will include improving network resilience to prevent incidents when possible and respond effectively when incidents do occur; addressing the abuse of financial mechanisms to launder ransom payments or conduct other activities that make ransomware profitable.

The attempts of the 32 member states will be supported by 4 complementary actions in the fields of diplomacy, countering illicit finance, network resilience, and disruption of the attackers to hold them “accountable” as criminal operators.

How The International Community Will Try To Stop Bad Actors From Using Crypto

For their first action, the Counter Ransomware Initiative will try to “promote rules-based behavior” to get countries to stop bad actors from operating on their territory.

The statement failed to mention a specific country, but some speculations have emerged about Russia and North Korea enabling these activities. This item emphasizes the need for more collaboration from the international community.

On the point related to crypto and their related transactions, the initiative also asked for more cooperation to “inhibit, trace, and interdict ransomware payment flows”. In that sense, they want to remove the financial incentives for these actors to use digital assets by cutting their payment flows.

The members of the initiative claimed crypto assets are the “primary instrument” used by criminals to receive their payment and perform money laundering activities. In that sense, they acknowledged a lack of equal enforcement of the regulations:

We acknowledge that uneven global implementation of the standards of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) to virtual assets and virtual asset service providers (VASPs) creates an environment permissive to jurisdictional arbitrage by malicious actors seeking platforms to move illicit proceeds (…).

To achieve this objective, the members of the initiative will attempt to pressure VASPs to “mitigate risks associated” with these entities. In addition, they claim there will be more cooperation with the crypto industry to eliminate ransomware by “enhancing related information sharing”.

At the time of writing, Bitcoin trades at $61,500 with a 7% profit in the daily chart.


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