As first reported by the Wall Street Journal on Friday, the Biden administration is planning a range of moves, including penalties, to make it more difficult for hackers to benefit from ransomware attacks by using digital money.
The Treasury Department intends to implement these new sanctions as soon as next week, according to the Journal. According to reports, the sanctions would target specific traders and cryptocurrency exchanges in the hopes of discouraging exchanges from completing these transactions after they are made.
In addition, the department will release fresh recommendations for firms on the risks they face by responding to ransomware payment requests. The Treasury Department did not respond to a request for comment.
These suggested steps would be the Biden administration’s most substantial response to the recent spate of ransomware assaults, which have only increased in size and frequency. Colonial Pipeline, one of the major US pipelines, was forced offline in May after a ransomware attack.
In order to reopen the pipeline, the firm paid the terrorists a ransom of more than $4 million. Howard University was forced to close earlier this month after a ransomware attack disrupted the school’s computer and technology capabilities.
President Biden signed an executive order in May that makes it easier for the government and private sector to share information in the aftermath of cyberattacks. Government agencies were also compelled to implement multi-factor authentication services in their systems as part of the order.
Later this year, the Biden administration is slated to announce new anti-money laundering and terror finance guidelines that will limit the use of bitcoin for ransomware payments.