G7 ‘concerned’ about increasing cybercrimes that demand crypto ransoms

Leaders from G7 intergovernmental economic organization cautioned against global surge in ransomware attacks that involved crypto payments as ransom money. These ransomware attackers often demanded payments “primarily” in cryptocurrency which according to the G7 facilitated money laundering. G7 believed that attacks had intensified over the last two years and the ongoing pandemic could make the situation worse.

According to the report, cryptocurrency ransoms demanded by these criminals could “incentivize” cybercrime and finance “terrorist” groups. G7 also claimed that these crypto ransoms could lead to the “proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.” Two months ago, U.S FBI had published an alert that stated how North Korea had generated hundreds of millions of dollars through the “looting” of crypto exchanges, and that the nation had used hacked crypto funds to build WMDs. The G7 issued a warning stating:

The fact that criminals often demand that ransoms be paid in virtual assets is of particular concern.

“Virtual assets” would facilitate hackers to conduct money-laundering activities. The organization called upon nations to implement strategies such as:

We call upon all countries to effectively implement the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) standards to reduce criminals’ access to and exploitation of financial services, particularly the updated FATF standards on virtual assets. 

So far, the criminals behind the attacks have targeted hospitals, financial institutions, schools, and other critical infrastructure, especially in the G7 nations such as Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, UK and U.S. However, the rest of the document outlined cyber tactics and procedures in order to guide coordinated action, such as sharing information where possible, which the G7 believed would allow it to improve its responses to ransomware attacks. 

In recent news, G7 member U.S.A’s Department of Justice published a Cryptocurrency Enforcement Framework that outlined the “emerging threats” and enforcement challenges associated with the “increasing prevalence” and use of cryptocurrency.

The Enforcement Framework described how criminals used cryptocurrency to evade detection by trading on the dark web and how cybercriminals behind ransomware attacks often used crypto to hide their identities when receiving ransom payments.

 

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