The rise in “cyber attacks” via ransomware, according to a White House news release, is an “escalating shared threat” to G7 nations.
The memo states, “Transnational criminal businesses utilize infrastructure, virtual currency, and money laundering networks to target victims all over the world, typically operating from geographic locations that provide a permissive environment for carrying out such destructive cyber actions.”
It’s almost certainly a reference to Russia, where many ransomware gangs are known to be based (including DarkSide and REvil, the ones behind the Colonial and JBS assaults).
Faced with congressional pressure, President Biden is scheduled to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin later this week; Putin has so far denied any involvement in the ransomware assaults.
According to Chainalysis, a blockchain data and analytics firm, the amount of cryptocurrency stolen in ransomware attacks increased by 311 percent last year. Ransomware was responsible for at least $81 million in stolen funds worldwide in the first four and a half months of this year.
Chainalysis anticipates the number to climb when new crimes are identified retroactively, thus this is a cautious estimate.