November 1st – In a U.S.-led initiative, more than forty countries have agreed to never again pay ransom to cyber criminals, and to actively work towards eliminating hackers’ funding sources.
The timing couldn’t be better, as ransomware attacks are increasing in volume and sophistication worldwide. Says U.S. deputy national security advisor, Anne Neuberger, the United States experiences the bulk of these attacks.
In the wake of this agreement, two information sharing platforms are due to emerge; one developed by Lithuania, and another jointly developed by the UAE and Israel.
Partner countries will share a “black list” via the U.S. Department of Treasury, which will include information pertaining to how ransomware attackers are moving payments.
The effort will leverage artificial intelligence in order to analyze blockchain, helping authorities identify transfer of illicit funds.
By cutting off the flow of funding to cyber criminals, ransomware attackers will likely find it difficult to expand operations. Preventing and intercepting monetary transfers also limits the probability that funding will flow to terrorist organizations.
Presently, the number and value of cryptocurrency payments that organizations are making to hackers is quite high. Payments are on-track to reach the second-largest annual total, ever.
Although the U.S. government has been a long-time proponent of avoiding ransomware payments, outlawing payments is seen as a controversial move.
Some law enforcement officials have voiced concerns over this approach, as it could have implications for the social and economic well-being of citizens.