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US Treasury Warns Against Paying Ransomware Gangs

By Vigilize | Wednesday, October 21, 2020 - Leave a Comment

Ransomware payments sent to countries under sanctions could result in fines…


An article review.


Whether or not to pay the organization behind a ransomware attack has been a hotly debated subject for many years, but a new advisory issued by the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) warns those who do pay up may have to pay again…in the form of fines.

An article submitted by our friend Wes Pollard explains the OFAC advisory, which states that ransom payments made to organizations in countries such as Cuba, Syria, Iran and North Korea violate US law, and those who facilitate such payments (such as cybersecurity firms and insurance companies) can be held liable.

The OFAC goes on to warn that organizations who make such payments are not off the hook even if they did not realize where the ransom payments were going, or that making such a payment violated the law.  Considering the fact that most ransomware payments are made without knowing who the recipient really is–usually via some form of cryptocurrency–that means any ransom payment could potentially open an organization up to scrutiny by the US Treasury.

Given this new warning it is even more important to know your insurance company’s policies on ransomware attacks and who makes the final call on issuing a payment, as it is a decision that could prove to be even more costly in the long run.


Original article by Sarah Coble writing for Infosecurity Magazine.


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