US summit participants point to role of cryptocurrencies in ransomware attacks

November 2, 2021

US summit participants point to role of cryptocurrencies in ransomware attacks

Participating countries at the US summit will build capacity to curb the use of cryptocurrencies in ransomware attacks. A joint statement from representatives of 31 states and the EU said.

"Ransomware is primarily a profit-seeking activity, typically using money-laundering networks to move the proceeds of attacks," the document stressed.

It noted that international cooperation on "preventing, tracing and disrupting payment flows" is needed to reduce the economic incentives for attackers.

Cryptocurrencies are described in the document as a "major tool" that "criminals use to link ransomware to payments and subsequent money laundering.

According to the statement, countries will empower national authorities to "regulate, monitor, investigate and take action" against the use of virtual assets by ransomware operators.

The uneven implementation of FATF rules on cryptocurrencies and virtual asset service providers (VASPs) creates an environment that allows for jurisdictional arbitrage, according to the statement. This gives attackers the opportunity to circumvent anti-money laundering (AML) regulations.

"We seek to enhance our efforts to disrupt the business model of ransomware and related money laundering activities, including by ensuring that national AML systems effectively identify and mitigate VASP-related risks," the communiqu said.

Authorities at the summit also intend to work with representatives of the cryptocurrency industry to share information related to ransomware.

Earlier, the U.S. president's administration named tracking crypto-transactions as one of the possible options to combat ransomware viruses.

Recall that the US Senate called for increased oversight of cryptocurrency use by abusers and introduced a bill with regulations that would require victims of ransomware to report ransom information.

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