Congress Mulls Ban on Big Ransom Payouts

A bill introduced this week would regulate ransomware response by the country’s critical financial sector.

A U.S. lawmaker has introduced a bill – the Ransomware and Financial Stability Act (H.R.5936) (PDF) – that would make it illegal for financial firms to pay ransoms over $100,000 without first getting the government’s permission.

The legislation was introduced on Wednesday by the top Republican on the House Financial Services Committee, North Carolina Congressman Patrick McHenry.

“Ransomware payments in the U.S. have totaled more than $1 billion since 2020. Most notably, this past May, a Russian ransomware attack forced Colonial Pipeline to shut down oil supplies to the eastern United States before the company paid hackers. As disruptive as this hack was, it pales in comparison to what would happen if America’s critical financial infrastructure were to be taken offline,” he said.

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“That’s why I’m introducing the Ransomware and Financial Stability Act of 2021. This bill will help deter, deny and track down hackers who threaten the financial institutions that make the day-to-day economic activity possible. The legislation will also provide long-overdue clarity for

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