Senate Homeland Safety and Governmental Affairs Chairman Gary Peters introduced Tuesday on CNN’s “New Day” that the bipartisan investigation will search to higher perceive how cryptocurrency emboldens cybercriminals and to determine attainable coverage modifications.
The probe is a part of a collection of steps the Michigan Democrat and different lawmakers have taken to handle a spate of cybersecurity incidents, together with soon-to-be-released laws associated to current ransomware assaults, he stated.
“Cryptocurrencies are the medium of selection by these people,” he advised CNN, referring to cybercriminals. “Effectively over $400 million has been paid in ransoms on this final 12 months from cryptocurrencies.”
The Justice Division stated it seized roughly $2.3 million in Bitcoins paid to people in a legal hacking group often called DarkSide — the group blamed for the crippling ransomware assault on Colonial Pipeline, which spurred days of panic shopping for and gas shortages.
Ransomware assaults have grown in scope and class within the final 12 months, Deputy Lawyer Common Lisa Monaco stated on the time, calling them an “epidemic.”
The back-to-back incidents have raised considerations in regards to the vulnerabilities they reveal in essential infrastructure and industries throughout the US.
“We need to be sure that we’re coping with cryptocurrency and perceive why it’s the selection by these people and the way can we disrupt that selection,” Peters stated.
The investigation will delve into why cryptocurrency, which is tough for legislation enforcement to trace, is being utilized in ransomware assaults and the way it may be disrupted. It should additionally purpose to determine attainable coverage options for lawmakers and regulators, the senator stated.
The Biden administration has additionally ramped up its efforts to disrupt the rising and more and more harmful ransomware assaults.
“Particular person firms really feel underneath stress — significantly in the event that they have not carried out the cybersecurity work — to repay the ransom and transfer on,” Neuberger added. “However in the long run, that is what drives the continuing ransom [attacks]. The extra people receives a commission, the extra it drives larger and greater ransoms and increasingly potential disruption.”