As soon as next week, the Treasury Department plans to ban a unit cryptocurrency
Markets, two sources said on condition of anonymity. The Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control also plans to issue updated guidance to companies on how to avoid breaking US law when making ransomware payments to cybercriminals.
The Wall Street Journal was the first report good
On impending Treasury works.
Spokesmen for the Treasury Department and the White House’s National Security Council declined to comment.
It is the most direct attempt yet by the Biden administration to attack the source of funding of ransomware gangs that shut down US computers and demand payment for hard-to-trace cryptocurrency
. Administration officials lament how multimillion-dollar payments to ransomware groups based in Eastern Europe and Russia have allowed hackers to invest in new tools for further attacks.
In June, President Joe Biden urged Russian President Vladimir Putin to crack down on cybercriminals operating from Russia. But FBI Deputy Director Paul Abbett said this week that Putin had given no such indication.
The ransomware threat garnered national attention in May when alleged Russian cybercriminals forced Colonial Pipeline
, which transports about 45% of all fuel consumed on the East Coast to the closure for days. The incident led to a shortage of gas stations on the East Coast, and Colonial Pipeline paid hackers $4.4 million to recover company data.