US government wants to monitor bitcoin to combat groups of ransomware | Finance & Finance

In the face of increased hacker activity and a growing problem with ransomware, U.S. government officials want to tighten bitcoin (BTC) and cryptocurrency regulations. The initiative led to the creation of a task force with public and private agents to promote stricter tracking of digital currencies, the most common form of payment in crimes involving this malware.

US government wants new cryptocurrency regulations to combat ransomware crimes (Image: Alex Chumak / Unsplash)

US government wants new cryptocurrency regulations to combat ransomware crimes (Image: Alex Chumak / Unsplash)

Cryptocurrencies are used in ransomware crimes

Ransomware is a kind of virus that freezes the computer system. The criminals behind these attacks then demand a payment to return control of the machine to the user.

Due to the pseudo-anonymity that cryptocurrencies offer, redemptions are usually carried out via bitcoin and other digital currencies. For this reason, American authorities believe that greater enforcement is the possible key to controlling this type of cyber crime.

According to the Reuters, sources familiar with the work of this task force and who chose to remain anonymous revealed that a panel of experts should ask regulators for more aggressive tracking in cryptocurrency transactions.

Authorities around the world debate regulations

In 2020, ransomware groups raised nearly $ 350 million, three times more than in 2019, according to two task force members this week. Victims are diverse, ranging from companies and government agencies to victimizing even hospitals and school systems. According to American authorities, some of these criminal organizations have ties to North Korea and Russia.

“There is much more that can be done to curb the abuse of these technologies,” said Philip Reiner, head of the Institute for Security and Technology (IST), an institution that leads the ransomware task force. Last week, the U.S. Department of Justice also created a government group to combat this type of cyber crime. Now, they are debating with central banks and authorities around the world over how cryptocurrencies should be regulated to weaken their use by criminals.

According to sources who talked to the Reuters, the proposed new rules aim to break that degree of anonymity that digital currencies can offer. However, a portion of these new policies depend on votes in Congress. If implemented successfully, these regulations could restrict the use of cryptocurrencies by criminals.

This task force included representatives from the United States’ FBI and Secret Service, who allied with large private sector technology and security companies. This group will also recommend changes and extensions to policies already in place today, such as extending rules for collecting information from crypto customers or reinforcing anti-money laundering processes in cryptocurrency exchanges.

New rules can also prevent other crimes

The regulations proposed by the initiative to combat ransomware are aligned with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), which also intends to expand the disclosure of transactions with cryptocurrencies. Another recommendation is the creation of a division within the Department of Justice to facilitate the seizures of digital currencies, a process currently very hampered by several logistical and legal obstacles.

The result of implementing these new rules would be much broader, combating not just ransomware. Task force experts hope the proposals will also facilitate the identification of criminals who engage in human trafficking, drug trafficking and terrorism.

“This is a sector (cryptocurrencies) that was created exactly to be anonymous, but at some point, you have to give up something to make sure everyone is safe,” said a National Security official, on condition of anonymity, to the Reuters.

However, for new policies of this magnitude to be applied, Reiner, from IST, stated that international cooperation will be indispensable. For him, countries with more advanced regulations could boost policy exchanges, while also preventing criminals from resorting to international transactions.

With information: Reuters

Leave a Comment