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The task force also suggested new regulations that will provide for more aggressive blockchain tracing as well as stricter licencing standards for companies dealing with digital currencies.
A recently created ransomware task force has called for new steps to more actively trace Bitcoin and crypto capital transfers in order to combat a significant uptick in ransomware.
The task force features members of law enforcement, including FBI and US Secret Service agents, as well as executives from leading intelligence and technology companies.
According to an April 29 report from Reuters citing anonymous sources from the Department of Justice’s task force, the group is calling for new guidelines designed to cut through the anonymity of digital asset transfers that will soon be reviewed by Congress.
The suggested reforms include strengthened KYC standards for crypto asset exchanges, extended regulatory requirements for companies dealing with cryptocurrencies, and the extension of anti-money laundering rules to further scrutinise the activities of crypto conversion kiosks and ATMs.
The organisation also backs the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network’s drive to expand reporting standards on transactions of more than $10,000.
According to one Homeland Security official, the draught recommendations will be “huge” for law enforcement attempts to track down drug trafficking, human smuggling, and other actors engaged in illegal activity using crypto-pseudonymity.
“This is a world designed to be anonymous, but at some point, you have to give up something to insure everyone’s safety,” he said.
The revised laws are intended to adapt to a record year for ransomware attacks, with the task force predicting that ransomware syndicates would raise up to $350 million in 2020, a 200 percent increase from the previous year. Profits were made mostly by attacking government departments, universities, public establishments, and private businesses.
The task force has discovered evidence that many ransomware operators have good ties with North Korea, Russia, and other nation-states whose interests tend to be at odds with those of the United States.
Acting Deputy Attorney General John Carlin announced the team last week, writing, “Although the Department has taken significant steps to address cyber crime, it is critical that we bring the full authority and resources of the Department to bear to confront the many dimensions and root causes of this threat.”