Two U.S. senators on the Intelligence Committee suggested that lawmakers should take increased measures to regulate and trace cryptocurrencies over the weekend. The recommendations come after a second major ransomware attack within a month that has demanded payments in digital currencies. According to the Forbes report, Senator Roy Blunt unleashed a tirade on cryptocurrencies and the anonymity they provide on NBC News on Sunday. Financial regulators worldwide are targeting cryptocurrencies and calling for more strict regulations.
Ransomware attacks concern regulators.
Earlier, two ransomware attacks on Colonial Pipeline and meatpacker JBS sparked widespread gas shortages and meat plant shutdowns. Colonial paid the hackers around $4.4 million in Bitcoin, and it was unclear whether JBS had paid a ransom at the time of writing. JBS reported that the attack originated from a criminal group likely based in Russia. The FBI believes a group with ties to Russia called DarkSide carried out the attack on Colonial Pipeline. Ransomware attacks have been a major concern for regulators and law enforcement agencies across countries because of the sophisticated technology used and ransom being paid in bitcoin and other privacy coins, which makes it difficult to catch the criminals.
Crypto ransomware attacks are on the rise.
Senator Roy Blunt stated that lawmakers should not allow cryptocurrencies to operate “behind the scenes,” calling them the “ransom payment of choice” for hackers. Cash remains the first choice of most criminal activities, but digital currencies with high anonymity properties are increasing in popularity for these types of incursion. Senator Mark Warner called for more transparency if a company does pay.
Referring to a cyber attack by Russian hackers who unleashed a computer virus on 18,000 government and private networks worldwide, the senator said, “What I’m really worried about is if we saw the kind of massive, across-the-system attack that took place last year, the SolarWinds attack. If that attack had been an effort to shut down our system, our economy would have come to a halt.”