Senate Homeland Safety and Governmental Affairs Chairman Gary Peters introduced Tuesday on CNN’s “New Day” that the bipartisan investigation will search to raised perceive how cryptocurrency emboldens cybercriminals and to establish potential coverage adjustments.
The probe is a part of a sequence of steps the Michigan Democrat and different lawmakers have taken to deal with a spate of cybersecurity incidents, together with soon-to-be-released laws associated to current ransomware assaults, he stated.
“Cryptocurrencies are the medium of selection by these of us,” he advised CNN, referring to cybercriminals. “Effectively over $400 million has been paid in ransoms on this final yr from cryptocurrencies.”
The Justice Division stated it seized roughly $2.3 million in Bitcoins paid to people in a legal hacking group often called DarkSide — the group blamed for the crippling ransomware assault on Colonial Pipeline, which spurred days of panic shopping for and gasoline shortages.
Ransomware assaults have grown in scope and class within the final yr, Deputy Legal professional Basic Lisa Monaco stated on the time, calling them an “epidemic.”
The back-to-back incidents have raised issues in regards to the vulnerabilities they reveal in essential infrastructure and industries throughout the US.
“We wish to make certain we’re coping with cryptocurrency and perceive why it’s the selection by these of us and the way can we disrupt that selection,” Peters stated.
The investigation will delve into why cryptocurrency, which is troublesome for legislation enforcement to trace, is being utilized in ransomware assaults and the way it may be disrupted. It can additionally purpose to establish potential coverage options for lawmakers and regulators, the senator stated.
The Biden administration has additionally ramped up its efforts to disrupt the rising and more and more damaging ransomware assaults.
“Particular person firms really feel below stress — notably in the event that they have not completed the cybersecurity work — to repay the ransom and transfer on,” Neuberger added. “However in the long run, that is what drives the continued ransom [attacks]. The extra of us receives a commission, the extra it drives larger and larger ransoms and increasingly more potential disruption.”