The U.S. Department of the Treasury (USDT) published a press release that includes the main findings of an analysis by the U.S. Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). The report confirms that the system supporting electronic filings of Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) received approximately $1.2 billion worth of ransomware-related filings in 2021, and Russians are to blame for most ransomware incidents on U.S. soil.
President Biden’s pressure on Putin on July 9th, 2021, to stop Russian ransomware groups from striking the United States is yet to impress the Russian president. The recent report released by FinCEN highlighted that roughly 75% of the incidents reported during the second half of 2021 pertained to Russia-related ransomware variants. The drastic increase in Russia-initiated ransomware attacks on U.S.-based businesses and government organizations has had an impact on the relations between the two global super powers.
The report focusing on ransomware trends highlighted that a substantial number of attacks are Russian-linked and is a reminder that Russian-based hackers continue to be a severe threat to the USA’s national and economic security. Another significant finding in the report is that ransomware-related cybersecurity incidents have increased drastically since 2020.
The troubling data was discussed earlier this week at the second International Counter Ransomware Initiative (CRI) Summit in Washington, DC. The White House stated that the CRI Summit is a cornerstone of the Biden administration’s efforts to disrupt such cyber threats. The summit was attended by cyber security professionals from 36 countries, including representatives of homeland security offices, intelligence agencies, law enforcement, and ministries of justice and defense. Last year the Biden administration promised to strike back if the threat continued.
The White House is working on establishing an International Counter Ransomware Task Force (ICRTF) that will be led by Australia. There also will be a Regional Cyber Defense Centre (RCDC) in Kaunas, Lithuania. The U.S. and its allies will also undertake biannual counter-ransomware exercises, and they will actively share information such as details about cryptocurrency wallets used for laundering extorted funds and ransomware strains on an active and enduring basis. The cooperation and multiple actions between the U.S. and its allies will aim to decrease the growing threat from Russia-linked bad actors.
Ransomware attacks are a severe problem in the U.S. and the rest of the world. Each year tens of thousands of individuals and organizations become victims of such attacks. While the USA and its allies are working towards eliminating the threat, being prepared with the necessary antivirus tools is undoubtedly a step toward in the battle against the hackers.