Report: 40 Countries to Sign Pledge to Never Pay Cybercriminal Ransoms

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  • Forty countries in a US-led alliance plan to sign a pledge never to pay ransom to cybercriminals. 
  • The alliance will work to share information on digital wallets associated with ransomware attacks. 
  • The partner countries will also contribute to a “black list” containing identified digital wallets associated with the attacks.

Forty countries in an alliance spearheaded by the United States plan to sign a pledge to never pay ransom to cybercriminals, and to work towards removing hackers’ source of revenue, Reuters reported, citing a senior White House official. 

The alliance, dubbed the International Counter Ransomware Initiative, seeks to counter the spread of cybercrimes across the world. Partnered countries will work to eliminate criminals’ funding through better information sharing about ransom payment accounts. 

Furthermore, a “black list” will be created for the countries to share details on digital wallets being utilized for ransomware payments. Similarly, the alliance will use artificial intelligence to track and identify illicit funds’ movement on blockchains. 

The report noted that the United States has been the worst hit by cybercrime, suffering 46% of all ransomware attacks, per a statement from Anne Neuberger, U.S. deputy national security adviser in the Biden administration for cyber and emerging technologies. 

According to Neuberger, so long as there is constant money flow to cyber criminals, the attacks will continue to increase. Hackers often extort money from victims – which could be individuals or a company – through threats. Such threats could be related to sensitive personal or corporate data that could sabotage the victims. 

Per the report, hundreds of companies fall victim every year, with the latest being an attack on casino operator MGM Resorts and cleaning products maker Clorox. The report stated that the two companies are yet to recover from the attacks. Meanwhile, blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis in July reported a spike in the volume of crypto payments associated with ransomware attacks. The analytics firm noted that the volume of the payments is on track to be the second-biggest annual total on record.

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