At yesterday’s White House press briefing, President Biden’s national security advisor, Jake Sullivan, stated that Biden is planning to discuss various crypto-related issues at the G-7.
Sullivan not only said that he Biden will be discussing crypto issues, but he also doubled down by stating that examining the role of crypto in cyberattacks needs to be a priority. Sullivan believes that both NATO and any country in the G-7 need to be looking into these issues in preparation for next month’s summit.
Biden appears in line to be the first sitting president who will be forced to deal with a broad range of issues that pertain to cryptocurrency. The President has not only been focused on protecting from these ransomware attacks, but he has also announced a crackdown on tax evaders via global data sharing.
The administration has made it know they are putting forth extra effort to ensure traders on the crypto market abide by regulations and that any loopholes in the system are patched quickly. A number of Biden appointees have opined about the cryptocurrency landscape with many expressing less than positive sentiments.
During yesterday’s press conference, Sullivan was quoted as stating that “It is important to deal with the cryptocurrency challenge which lies at the core of how these ransomware attacks are carried out. Ransomware is a national security priority.”
The ransomware issue has been a hot topic this week after the US Department of Justice (DOJ) recently seized over $2 million in Bitcoin ransom. The seized ransom was forked over to a Russian hacker group named DarkSide after it was extorted from Colonial Pipeline, said the DOJ.
This attack came during a spree of ransomware cyberattacks thought to originate from Russia that specifically set their sights on US-housed companies such as Colonial Pipeline. The attack had ramifications that extended far beyond crypto wallets because it resulted in gas shortages all up and down the Eastern Seaboard.
Luckily for Colonial Pipeline, the FBI was able to regain control of most of the stolen 63.7 BTC and return it. The seizure took place in Northern California which allowed the FBI to access the private key to the hacker’s wallet and regain the stolen funds. No official word on how the private key exactly was obtained. Special agent in charge Elvis Chan did say that “I don’t want to give up our trade craft in case we want to use this again for future endeavors.”
While Sullivan didn’t condemn cryptocurrencies in so many words, he did state his belief that Bitcoin and other digital assets tend to be “at the core” of these hacker attacks.
Biden will not be waiting until the G-7 to begin discussing these issues. The President has a meeting with Vladimir Putin soon, and he is expected to address the cyber-attacks emanating from Russia.
According to NBC News, Ransomware groups have carried out more than 1,000 attacks globally in the last five months alone.
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