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Cryptocurrencies, Adoption & Rise In Ransomware Attacks – Exclusive.

With a new proposal that raises punishments for offenders, Australian legislators are taking a harder approach against ransomware.

Following a 60 percent increase in cyberattacks on Australian businesses and government agencies last year, the federal government announced additional safeguards and a proposed Surveillance Legislation Amendment on Oct. 13. According to estimates, the economy was cost $AU1.4 billion (about $US1 billion) as a result of these intrusions.

The Ransomware Action Plan would allow authorities to confiscate or block financial transactions in cryptocurrencies linked to criminality, regardless of where they originated.

The administration wants to update the law to make it simpler for police to recover cryptocurrency assets stolen by hackers.

The new regulations, according to Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews, are intended to prevent overseas hackers from attacking Australian firms. “Our strong new rules will go after internet criminals where it hurts the most – their bank accounts,” she continued.

Buying and selling malware used in ransomware attacks, as well as dealing with stolen data, will be made illegal.

In July, a multi-agency task force known as Operation Orcus was formed to combat ransomware assaults. The majority of the assaults started in Russia, with malware like REvil or DarkSide encrypting or stealing data before demanding a ransom in bitcoin.

Ransomware attacks on Australian targets have recently targeted Uniting Care Queensland, Lion Brewery, Nine Entertainment, the NSW Labor Party, Toll Holdings, and BlueScope Steel. In May, the JBS meat processing firm was attacked, forcing it to close all of its 47 locations in Australia.

In the United States, lawmakers are also stepping up their efforts to combat ransomware. Senator Elizabeth Warren, a vocal opponent of cryptocurrencies, sponsored the Ransom Disclosure Act earlier this month, with the goal of gathering information on the use of bitcoin in ransomware attacks.

Chainalysis, a blockchain analytics startup, bought cybercrime investigation firm Excygent on Oct. 6 to add to its arsenal in the continuing battle against ransomware.

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