mcloudy.png
Friday June 18th, 2021 2:59PM

Wray: FBI frowns on ransomware payments despite recent trend

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

WASHINGTON (AP) — The FBI's director told lawmakers Thursday that the bureau discourages ransomware payments to hacking groups even as major companies in the past month have participated in multimillion-dollar transactions aimed at getting their systems back online.

“It is our policy, it is our guidance, from the FBI, that companies should not pay the ransom for a number of reasons,” Christopher Wray testified under questioning from members of the House Judiciary Committee.

Besides the fact that such payments can encourage additional cyberattacks, victims may not automatically get back their data despite forking over millions, “and that's not unknown to happen,” Wray said.

In ransomware attacks, hackers lock up and encrypt a victim's data and demand a payment in order to return it. They have proliferated in scale over the past year, targeting not just hospitals and police agencies but also critical infrastructure and vital industries. Some recent major corporate targets have responded by paying the ransom, fearing that a prolonged shutdown of their businesses could have catastrophic consequences for the country and disrupt crucial supply chains.

Colonial Pipeline, which transports about 45 percent of fuel consumed on the East Coast, last month paid a ransom of 75 bitcoin — then valued at roughly $4.4 million — in hopes of getting its system back online.

On Wednesday, JBS SA, the world’s largest meat processing company, revealed that it had paid the equivalent of $11 million to hackers who broke into its computer system last month.

Colonial Pipeline CEO Joseph Blount told lawmakers this week that the decision to pay the ransom was the hardest choice of his career but ultimately the right thing to do, particularly given the gas shortages that surfaced within days in parts of the United States. He said that although the key the company was given to decrypt its data did not work perfectly, Colonial has resumed operations after a brief shutdown.

The Justice Department has said it was able to recover the majority of the ransomware payment after locating the virtual wallet used by the hackers. Wray said that in addition to helping companies in that way, the FBI also in certain instances has been able to obtain the encryption keys of hackers and unlock the seized data without any payment being made.

“There are a whole bunch of things we can do to prevent this activity from occurring, whether they pay the ransom or not, if they communicate and coordinate and work closely with law enforcement right out of the gate,” he said. “That's I think the most important part.”

____

Follow Eric Tucker on http://www.twitter.com/etuckerAP

  • Associated Categories: U.S. News, Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Business, AP Business - Industries, AP Business - Agriculture, AP Technology News
© Copyright 2021 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Arizona refurbishes gas chamber in push to resume executions
Arizona has refurbished its gas chamber at a prison where the last lethal-gas execution in the United States was carried out in 1999
1:15PM ( 8 minutes ago )
Wray: FBI frowns on ransomware payments despite recent trend
FBI Director Christopher Wray says the bureau discourages ransomware payments to hacking groups even as major companies in the past month have participated in multimillion-dollar transactions aimed at getting their systems back online
1:14PM ( 9 minutes ago )
Key reservoir on Colorado River hits record low amid drought
A key reservoir on the Colorado River is shrinking to record low levels, prompting concerns throughout the drought-stricken U.S. West about future water supply
1:00PM ( 23 minutes ago )
U.S. News
Biden, Johnson strike convivial tone in 1st meeting
President Joe Biden and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson were all smiles during their first meeting, taking place in England just before an international summit Johnson is hosting
12:57PM ( 26 minutes ago )
Macron to reduce French military troops in Africa's Sahel
French President Emmanuel Macron has announced the future reduction of France’s military presence fighting Islamic extremism in Africa’s Sahel region
12:54PM ( 29 minutes ago )
The Latest: Biden, Johnson, sign new Atlantic Charter
The leaders of Britain and the United States are vowing to defend their countries’ “enduring values” against challenges old and new, in a far-reaching document set out ahead of a Group of Seven summit in England
12:47PM ( 36 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Celebrations (and questions) greet US vaccine donation plan
Health officials and experts are greeting U.S. plans to donate 500 million more COVID-19 vaccines to developing countries with both celebration and hesitation
12:24PM ( 1 hour ago )
Wife of drug kingpin 'El Chapo' pleads guilty to US charges
The wife of Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman has pleaded guilty to charges in the U.S. that alleged she helped her husband run his multibillion-dollar criminal empire
12:17PM ( 1 hour ago )
Culture of Corruption: ex-UAW leader gets 28-month sentence
Former United Auto Workers president Gary Jones was sentenced to 28 months in prison for scheming to embezzle hundreds of thousands of dollars in union dues
12:14PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP National News
Germany starts rolling out a digital EU vaccination pass
Germany has started rolling out a digital vaccination pass that can be used across Europe as the continent gears up for the key summer travel season
11:41AM ( 1 hour ago )
Former NFL star Warrick Dunn tackles housing inequalities
Former NFL star Warrick Dunn is hosting a conversation centered on diversity and inclusion as part of his charity’s Juneteenth celebration
11:30AM ( 1 hour ago )
No more kidney dialysis? Lebanese hospitals issue warning
Hospitals in Lebanon are warning that they may be forced to suspend kidney dialysis amid severe shortages in supplies
11:02AM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Business
The Latest: Germany rolling out digital EU vaccination pass
Germany has started rolling out a digital vaccination pass that can be used across Europe as the continent gears up for the key summer travel season
8:54AM ( 4 hours ago )
Celebrations (with caveats) greet US vaccine donation plan
Health officials and experts around the world are welcoming a U.S. plan to donate 500 million more COVID-19 vaccines to developing countries
8:38AM ( 4 hours ago )
The Latest: Bidens to have Sunday tea with the queen
President Joe Biden will be welcomed with a military Guard of Honor and afternoon tea with Queen Elizabeth II at Windsor Castle when he meets the monarch on Sunday
8:27AM ( 4 hours ago )
AP Business - Industries
Meat company JBS confirms it paid $11M ransom in cyberattack
The world’s largest meat processing company says it paid the equivalent of $11 million to hackers who broken into its computer system late last month
8:59PM ( 16 hours ago )
JBS settles Muslim discrimination lawsuit for $5.5 million
The second-largest producer of beef, pork and chicken in the U.S. will pay up to $5.5 million to settle a lawsuit that claimed the company discriminated against Muslim employees at a processing plant in northern Colorado
5:05PM ( 20 hours ago )
Man stuck for days inside giant fan at California vineyard
Authorities rescued a man who said he had been trapped for two days inside a large fan at a Northern California vineyard
3:41PM ( 21 hours ago )
AP Business - Agriculture
Arizona refurbishes gas chamber in push to resume executions
Arizona has refurbished its gas chamber at a prison where the last lethal-gas execution in the United States was carried out in 1999
1:15PM ( 8 minutes ago )
Key reservoir on Colorado River hits record low amid drought
A key reservoir on the Colorado River is shrinking to record low levels, prompting concerns throughout the drought-stricken U.S. West about future water supply
1:00PM ( 24 minutes ago )
EXPLAINER: Chauvin's lawyer asks to probe alleged jury bias
The defense attorney for the former Minneapolis police officer convicted of murder in the death of George Floyd is seeking not only a new trial but also a hearing to “impeach the verdict” by investigating potential juror misconduct
12:46PM ( 38 minutes ago )
US officials extend expiration dates on J&J vaccine doses
Johnson & Johnson says U.S. health officials have extended the expiration date for millions of doses of its COVID-19 vaccine by an extra six weeks
12:34PM ( 49 minutes ago )
EXPLAINER: Chauvin's attorney seeks to probe jury misconduct
The defense attorney for the former Minneapolis police officer convicted of murder in the death of George Floyd is seeking not only a new trial but also a hearing to “impeach the verdict” by investigating potential juror misconduct
12:24PM ( 59 minutes ago )