Two US senators have urged lawmakers to step up measures to regulate cryptocurrencies, including tracing cryptocurrency transactions, to combat ransomware attacks. “We don’t know how to detect cryptocurrency in the country or the world,” said one senator, “We have to do a better job here.”
Senators urge lawmakers to ‘do better’ in regulating cryptocurrencies
Two senators on the Intelligence Committee spoke in an interview with NBC News Sunday about the government’s efforts to tackle the growing problem of ransomware involving cryptocurrency.
Senator Roy Blunt recalled that he and Senator Tom Carper were leading an effort to mandate the reporting of ransomware attacks. However, he added that there was “a lot of pushback” because “no one wanted to report that they were hacked.”
He added: “It was a fight that we have been fighting for almost a decade now. And the only way to rise above this is to try to develop a pattern knowing how widespread the problem is.” He stressed that cryptocurrencies should not be allowed to “behind the scenes throughout the system.”
The senator elaborated:
There is a huge need for cash in our country, but in the country or in the world we don’t know how to detect cryptocurrency… we have to do a better job here.
“People almost always pay the ransom. There are very few results. And you can’t detect ransomware – pay the ransom of choice now,” he insisted.
Another senator, Mark Warner, also commented on the use of cryptocurrencies in ransomware. He said: “There were some good things coming out of distributed ledger technology, but now we are seeing some dark underbelly, challenges, and so I am focusing more on transparency.”
He went on to say that “if a company is paying, if there isn’t some transparency of that payment, the bad guys will find another way to hide it,” adding:
This debate about crypto and ransomware is just getting started. So, in the meantime, let’s lay out these transparency requirements.
Last week, a top Justice Department official, deputy attorney general, Lisa Monaco, warned that businesses need to be more prepared to fight ransomware attacks. She told CNBC in an interview that “the message should be to the audience here, to CEOs across the country, that you’ve been notified of the exponential growth of these attacks.” He said:
Of course, the use of cryptocurrencies can have many good applications, but we have to beware of misuse, abuse by criminal actors in this area. So we really need both the exchanges and the companies that work with them to cooperate with the FBI.
What do you think of the two senators calling for increased crypto regulation to tackle the ransomware problem? Let us know in the comments section below.
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