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Treasury sanctions cryptocurrency exchange to fight ransomware attacks

The Treasury Division issued its first sanctions towards a cryptocurrency exchange on Tuesday as a part of a sequence of actions focusing on the usage of digital currencies in ransomware attacks.

Tuesday’s sanctions will block all trades involving the cryptocurrency exchange Suex and US entities. In accordance to the Treasury Division, round 40 p.c of all Suex transactions contain unlawful actions. The division’s Workplace of Overseas Property Management (OFAC) can be issuing a brand new advisory warning that it could difficulty new sanctions towards cryptocurrency exchanges, cyber insurance coverage corporations, and different monetary establishments that facilitate ransomware funds.

Ransomware and cyber-attacks are victimizing companies massive and small throughout America and are a direct menace to our financial system,” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in a statement on Tuesday. “We are going to proceed to crack down on malicious actors.”

These new measures are the Biden administration’s most significant move to curb the wave of ransomware attacks which have solely develop into extra frequent over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. In Could, one of many US’s largest gas supply pipelines, Colonial Pipeline, was taken offline after a cyberattack that requested a ransom. Colonial paid more than $4 million to flip the system again on. That cost was partially recovered by US authorities.

Final 12 months, the Treasury Division issued a pair of advisories warning corporations towards paying cybercriminals demanding ransoms. The Division reiterated this stance on Tuesday, saying that it could replace its ransomware steering and difficulty a transparent assertion opposing ransomware funds.

“As cyber criminals use more and more subtle strategies and know-how, we’re dedicated to utilizing the complete vary of measures, to embrace sanctions and regulatory instruments, to disrupt, deter, and forestall ransomware attacks,” Yellen mentioned in a press release Tuesday.

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