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US Citizens Are Warned of Ransomware threats by OFAC & Usage of Crypto as Ransom Payments

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Oct 6, 2020
US Citizens Are Warned of Ransomware threats by OFAC & Usage of Crypto as Ransom Payments

An advisory has been published by the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). The advisory warns the US citizens of potential threats due to Ransomware. Precautionary measures have been suggested by OFAC to avoid being victimized by the Ransomware payments. OFAC has also said in the advisory that sanctions will be imposed on the facilitators of such activities.

Ransomware is a malware generated via crypto virology which is used by the scammers to defraud the public. The scammers usually target those victims who have been scammed and the data they have bought through “Sucker List”. Through Ransomware the scammers threaten the potential victims of disclosing their data or debar their access to it. If the victim is threatened then the scammers ask the victim to pay the ransom.

OFAC noted that the majority of Ransomware payment demands are fulfilled through payment in cryptocurrencies. It has been seen mostly that Bitcoins, Ethereum, and other famous cryptocurrencies were demanded by the scammers, the advisory suggested.

In the advisory, OFAC has also urged victims and the general public to report any such occurrence immediately to the Authority. The warning has been issued to take immediate action against those involved in such activities.

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OFAC went further on to state that strict actions will be taken against those who are facilitating such activities. This will entail the imposition of heavy fines and federal imprisonment as well. They are warned by the authority to share information forthwith. No compensation will be given to those who intentionally or forcibly facilitated the culprits, said OFAC.

On the other hand, OFAC has issued guidelines that have been provided to the banking sector and other corporations. Through the guidelines, banking and corporate sectors have been advised to initiate risk-based compliance policies. The policies will be required to be undertaken by banks and corporations to minimize the threats.

Crypto based Ransomware payments have been increasing in huge numbers in the country, said OFAC. This is hurting the reputation of digital currencies as well as victimizing innocent US citizens.

OFAC is a highly powered authority of the US and has recently sanctions upon an infamously notorious network, Lazarus Group. The group is allegedly sponsored by North Korea and actively involved in cybercriminal activities.

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