The US Treasury targeted crypto exchanges for laundering ransom payouts. The Treasury released a set of actions emphasizing disrupting crypto exchanges and criminal networks acting behind ransom laundering. The actions also focus on increasing ransomware payments and encouraging cyber-safety across US agencies, law, and Treasury enforcement.
Janet L. Yellen, the Treasury Secretary, talked about the development. According to Janet, cyber attacks and ransomware are hurting businesses throughout the United States. These attacks threaten the economy, and thus, the Treasury will crack down on these malicious actors. Since cybercriminals use complex technologies and methods, authorities need to launch advanced measures as well. It includes regulatory and sanction tools that can deter, prevent, and disrupt ransomware attacks.
The US has witnessed a starking increase in the frequency, complexity, and scale of ransomware attacks. These attacks are hurting companies globally, with ransomware payments crossing 400 million dollars in 2020 alone. The numbers have grown four times since 2019. The US government thinks this is merely a portion of the harm.
Many cybercriminals are weaponizing technology for personal benefit, damaging companies, and disrupting the economy. Moreover, the money paid in ransomware also hurts the energy, financial, and healthcare industry. It even leads to the exposure of sensitive data, causing substantial damage.
Some decentralized exchanges have helped in facilitating the ransomware system because digital assets are the primary means of conducting ransomware payments. Additionally, DEXs are the best way to launder funds acquired through such activities.
The US has led the AML (anti-money laundering) and CFT (countering the financing of terrorism) industry for some time. It includes FinCEN (Financial Enforcement Network) publishing guidance surrounding the incorporation of the Bank Secrecy Act levied in 2013 and 2019.
The Treasury is not alone in the movement as OFAC and FinCEN are also assisting the administration to shut down these activities.