Government and industry have joined forces to combat the surge in ransomware, and the newly established Ransomware Working Group has called for new measures to more actively track Bitcoin and cryptocurrency capital flows.
The workforce includes police authorities, including agents from the FBI and the US Secret Service, who work with representatives of leading security and technology companies.
According to a report published by Reuters on April 29, citing anonymous sources from the Department of Justice task force, the group is calling for new guidelines to limit anonymity of transfers of digital assets, which Congress will soon consider.
Proposed measures include stricter Know Your Customer (KYC) requirements for exchanging cryptocurrency assets, expanded licensing requirements for organizations working with cryptocurrencies, and expanded money laundering laws to better control cryptocurrency kiosks and automated teller operations.
The group also supports the Financial Crimes Network efforts to increase reporting requirements for transactions over $ 10,000.
An Internal Guard official said the proposed guidelines would also be “formidable” for police efforts to combat drug smugglers, human traffickers, and other illegal activities under the guise of encryption.
“This is a world that is only made to be anonymous, but at some point you have to give up something to make sure everyone is safe,” he said.
The proposed rules aim to respond to a record year of ransomware attacks: The target group estimates that ransomware gangs have raised about $ 350 million by 2020, 200% more than the previous year. Most of the profits were made by targeting public agencies, hospitals, educational institutions, and private companies.
The working group also noted evidence that many ransomware operators maintain cordial relations with North Korea, Russia, and other nation states whose interests appear to conflict with those of the United States.
In announcing the group last week, Acting Assistant Attorney General John Carlin wrote: “Although the department has taken important steps to combat cybercrime, it is important that we harness the department’s full strength and resources to address the many dimensions and root causes of this threat.”