The US government is beefing up its crypto tracking and analysis capabilities to fight ransomware attacks that utilize digital assets to extort victims.
In a new press briefing, Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre says the Biden administration is aware of a ransomware attack that targeted JBS, the world’s largest meat producer, which has plants in the US, Canada and Australia.
Jean-Pierre says that combating ransomware is a White House priority, noting that in its efforts to protect against such attacks, the Biden administration will bulk up its tool kit to track crypto transactions that are connected to hacks.
“President Biden has already launched a rapid strategic review to address the increased threat of ransomware to include four lines of effort. One, distribution of ransomware infrastructure and actors working closely with the private sector. Two, building an international coalition to hold countries who harbor ransom actors accountable… [as well as] expanding cryptocurrency analysis to find and pursue criminal transaction; and reviewing the USG’s ransomware policies.”
The FBI links the JBS hack to a Russia-based group known as REvil or Sodinokibi, which is also implicated in previous malware attacks against computer manufacturer Acer, Apple supplier Quanta Computer and currency exchange Travelex.
“The White House is engaging directly with the Russian government on this matter and delivering the message that responsible states do not harbor ransomware criminals.”
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