New Bill Sets Ransomware Attack Response Rules For U.S. Financial Organizations

New Bill Sets Ransomware Attack Response Rules For U.S. Financial Organizations

New legislation introduced this week by US lawmakers aims to set “rules of the road” for responding to ransomware attacks for US financial institutions.

The Ransomware and Financial Stability Law (HR5936) was introduced this week by the top Republican on the House Financial Services Committee, Congressman Patrick McHenry.

If enacted, the new bill will require U.S. financial institutions affected by a ransomware attack to notify the Treasury Department’s Director of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) of the details of the attack and any requests. associated ransom.

However, the Ransomware and Financial Stability Law also guarantees the confidentiality of notifications of ransomware attacks sent to FinCEN, as they will not be accessible to the public and will be exempt from disclosure.

Before making ransomware payments over $ 100,000 in response to such attacks, affected financial institutions will need to apply for ransomware payment authorization. They will also be required to notify FinCEN within two working days if they have paid the ransom.

The US president will be able to waive the requirements of the bill if it is determined that the waiver is in the national interest of the United States.

“Ransomware payments in the United States have totaled over $ 1 billion since 2020. Specifically, last May, a Russian ransomware attack forced Colonial Pipeline to shut off oil supplies to the eastern states. “United before the company pays hackers. As disruptive as this hack was, it’s laughable compared to what would happen if America’s critical financial infrastructure were taken offline,” noted Congressman McHenry.

“This is why I am presenting the Ransomware and Financial Stability Law of 2021. This bill will help deter, prohibit and track down hackers who threaten the financial institutions that make day-to-day economic activity possible. The legislation will provide also long-awaited clarity for financial institutions that look to Congress for the rules of the road as ransomware hacks escalate. “

Ransomware suppression

This new bill follows a concerted effort to disrupt ransomware operations following attacks on critical US infrastructure after ransom demands and the frequency of ransomware attacks have grown steadily but steadily in recent years.

The true extent of the financial losses suffered by ransomware targets was recently revealed last month by FinCEN linking around $ 5.2 billion in outbound BTC transactions to ransomware payments.

FinCEN’s analysis is derived from Ransomware-related Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) filed by U.S. financial institutions between January 2021 and June 2021, as required by the Bank Secrecy Act.

On the same day, senior officials from 30 countries revealed after the United States-organized anti-ransomware initiative that their governments would crack down on cryptocurrency payment channels used by ransomware gangs to fund their operations.

Separately, U.S. Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco also announced on November 4 that the United States will suppression of ransomware activities.

As part of the same package of measures designed to disrupt ransomware gang operations, the US State Department last week announced rewards of $ 10,000,000 for identifying or locating key members of DarkSide ransomware and REvil.

Rewards of $ 5,000,000 have also been announced for information leading to the arrest of affiliates and other participants in their attacks.

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