WASHINGTON—The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) today convened a virtual FinCEN Exchange with representatives from financial institutions, technology firms, third-party service providers, and federal government agencies to discuss ongoing concerns regarding ransomware, as well as efforts by the public and private sectors. Topics discussed include cybercrime, trends and typologies, detection and reporting, and the recovery of funds after ransomware attacks. This FinCEN Exchange builds upon FinCEN’s November 2020 event on ransomware.
Ransomware is malicious software designed to block access to a computer system or data, often by encrypting data or programs, to extort ransom payments from victims in exchange for decrypting the information and restoring victims’ access to their systems or data. Ransomware attacks can lead to the loss of critical personal and commercial information, as well as compromised business functionality. Ransomware attacks have targeted not only government agencies and corporate entities, but also ordinary citizens, who are often forced to choose between paying exorbitant ransoms and sacrificing personal information, mementos of great sentimental value, and other important data.
Ransomware attacks are a growing concern for the financial sector, given that financial institutions can be targeted by ransomware attacks as well as face reputational and financial integrity concerns about the role financial institutions might play in the processing of ransom payments. In October 2020, FinCEN issued an advisory to alert financial institutions to predominant trends, typologies, and potential indicators of ransomware and associated money laundering activities. In addition, in June 2021, FinCEN highlighted ransomware as a particularly acute cybercrime concern in its issuance of the first government-wide priorities for anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism policy.
Following this event, FinCEN will host a ransomware technical workshop to discuss ways to establish an enhanced and more effective way to communicate, monitor, and receive information related to the use of cryptocurrency connected to a ransomware incident.
FinCEN Exchange is a voluntary public-private partnership that convenes relevant stakeholders, including law enforcement and financial institutions. FinCEN Exchange aims to protect our national security and our citizens from harm by combatting money laundering and its related crimes, including terrorism, through public/private dialogue that encourages, enables, and acknowledges industry focus on high-value and high-impact activities.