US Senator Gary Peters (D-MI) says that a senate committee that he chairs will look into methods that discourage the use of cryptocurrencies in cybercrimes.
Senator Peters, who chairs the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, says cryptocurrencies have become cyber ransomers’ “medium of choice.”
“In fact, there has been a 150% increase in ransomware attacks just in this year and certainly big ones like pipelines, meatpacking plants. Over the 4th of July, several hundred small businesses were hit with ransomware attacks. And what we find is that cryptocurrencies are the medium of choice by these folks.
In fact, probably well over $400 million has been paid in ransoms in this last year from cryptocurrencies. We think it may be a much larger number because we still have to get a better handle on how widespread these attacks are.
And we want to make sure we are dealing with cryptocurrency and understand why is it the choice by these folks? And how can we disrupt that choice? How can we make cryptocurrencies not the medium of choice but actually disrupt the use of cryptocurrency? So this will be an investigation into why it is being used, how it can be disrupted.”
The Michigan Senator adds that the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) seizure of crypto that had been paid by Colonial Pipeline to ransomers is serving as a deterrent to aspiring cyber criminals.
“We surely know the FBI was actually able to track this transaction related to the pipeline. That is a disincentive. What sort of resources are necessary for us to do that in a more aggressive way to let these cybercriminals know they are not going to get away with their ransom?”
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