FBI Secretary Ray urges businesses to stop paying ransoms to hackers
FBI Secretary Chris Ray begs listed companies and other hacking victims to avoid paying ransoms, bolding cybercriminals and intensifying future attacks.
“In general, ransom is not recommended as it facilitates these attacks. Frankly, there is no guarantee that the data will be regained,” Ray testified in front of the US Senate Expenditure Commission.
The Justice Department has revealed that Colonial Pipeline has succeeded in recovering the approximately $ 2.3 million cryptocurrency ransom paid to hackers. This is an attack that led to a widespread shortage at gas stations on the East Coast.
The FBI was able to recover these funds because it had a private key that could be used to unlock the Bitcoin wallet that holds most of the money. It was unclear how the FBI accessed the key.
Although federal seizures of Bitcoin are relatively rare, authorities are strengthening their expertise in tracking the flow of digital money.
Ray said Wednesday that the FBI was witnessing an increasingly sophisticated type of ransomware attack and cyber thieves were demanding more money.
“I think the total amount we paid has tripled last year or so,” Wray said.
He said businesses and local governments victims of ransomware attacks should consider going to the FBI as soon as possible rather than waiting.
“When they do, there’s all sorts of things we can do,” Ray said.
“Through other work we’ve done, we may be able to obtain a decryption key and allow the company to unlock the data without paying a ransom,” he added.