The Biden administration may ban ransomware payment by US companies to ensure they work with the government in discouraging and acting against cyber-extortion, Senate Homeland Security Committee Chairman Gary Peters said on Tuesday
WASHINGTON (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 26th October, 2021) The Biden administration may ban ransomware payment by US companies to ensure they work with the government in discouraging and acting against cyber-extortion, Senate Homeland Security Committee Chairman Gary Peters said on Tuesday.
"It's a possibility that we ban and I'm not closing the door on that," Peters said during a live-streamed discussion on ransomware hosted by the Washington Post. "Hopefully we get to the point where companies realize that there are other alternatives for them as part of the response."
The alternatives included working with government entities such the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) to report cyber-extortion cases as soon as they happen, Peters said.
"We have to right now be focused on working with companies to understand that there are alternatives to paying a ransom, particularly if they get assistance from the Federal government and look at the federal government as a partner," he said.
Peters pointed out that the $100 million Cyber Response and Recovery Fund, included in the bipartisan infrastructure bill passed by the Senate over the summer, was a step toward discouraging companies from making ransomware payments.
"They have to look at the federal government as a partner... when it comes to dealing with these kinds of crises," he said. "They should report early to CISA and they should view that as not just another box to check, 'that I have to report to the government', but that it's actually something substantive in terms of help."
Tom Burt, corporate vice president for customer security and trust at microsoft published a blog post Monday that those responsible for the SolarWinds hack attacked 609 of its customers more than 22,000 times between July 1 and October 19 - more than in the previous three years combined.
One of the most disruptive computer hacks on US businesses has been this year's ransomware act against Colonial Pipeline, which disrupted fuel deliveries across the Eastern United States in May. Colonial paid nearly $5 million in bitcoin to the hackers, and US law enforcement agencies later said they recovered almost half - or $2.3 million - of the amount.
In June, US President Joe Biden met with Russian President Vladimir Putin to request Moscow to crack down on cybercrime originating within its borders, naming 16 "critical infrastructure" US sectors from energy to water systems that should be "off-limits" to ransomware attacks.