United States lawmakers last month discussed the possibility of banning cryptocurrencies as a solution to ransomware attacks on US institutions, and opinions appear to be mixed.
The largest fuel pipeline in the US was halted in early May after hackers infected Colonial Pipeline’s computer network. There was a similar attack on the food packing company JBS. Colonial Pipeline has since have paid A reported $4.4 million in ransom.
Democratic Senator Mark Warner addressed the matter during NBC News’ meet the Press On June 6, where reporter Chuck Todd told them that banning cryptocurrencies could completely curb the growing trend where cyber attackers demand ransom in bitcoin.B T c) and other cryptocurrencies.
Warner disagreed that crypto should be banned outright, saying that while good things had come out of distributed ledger technology, its dark underbelly was now being exposed.
“I have a lot of questions about crypto. Distributed ledger technology was coming out of some good things, but now we are seeing some dark underbelly. […] And that’s why I am paying more attention to transparency,” he said.
Warner claimed that some cryptocurrency “systems” could already be breached by authorities if they wished. However, he added that stopping the technology would redirect criminals to different technologies.
“The truth is there are ways we can break some of these systems, but […] If there isn’t some transparency in that payment, the bad guys will find another way to hide it,” Warner said.
Republican Senator Roy Blunt suggested that cryptocurrency should not be left to run behind the scenes of criminal activity, arguing that cryptocurrency has become the main tool of ransomware attackers because of its untraceable nature and ease of use.
“We have a lot of cash requirements in our country, but we don’t know in the country or in the world how to trace cryptocurrency. So, one, it is quite easy to do. People almost always pay the ransom. Very little. Consequences happen. And you can’t trace ransomware — now the ransom payment of choice. And we have to do a better job here,” Blunt said.