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Senators Urge Crackdown On Crypto As Ransom Payment After Gas Pipe, Meat Plant Hacks

After a second widespread ransomware attack in less than one month, two senators on the Intelligence Committee suggested Sunday that lawmakers should take increased measures to regulate and trace cryptocurrencies, the medium of exchange that’s become popular among hackers for allowing transactions to remain anonymous.

In an appearance on NBC News’ Meet the Press, Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) said, “The only way you can begin to get on top” of the “pervasive” ransomware problem is “to develop a pattern,” before launching into a critique of the anonymity provided by cryptocurrencies often used to pay ransoms.

“It took gasoline and beef for us to think this is really a serious problem,” Sen. Blunt said, referencing the attacks on Colonial Pipeline and meatpacker JBS, which sparked widespread gas shortages and meat-plant shutdowns, respectively; Colonial paid hackers $4.4 million in bitcoin, but it’s unclear whether JBS has paid a ransom.

Though he didn’t outline specific policy measures, Blunt said lawmakers shouldn’t allow cryptocurrencies to operate “behind the scenes,” calling them the “ransom payment of choice” for hackers and a “fairly easy” way to receive money for attacks without a trace.

“We have a lot of cash requirements in our country, but we haven’t figured out in the country or in the world how to trace cryptocurrency,” Blunt said Sunday, adding: “We’ve got to do a better job here.”

Source: Forbes Crypto