Comment: US Dept Of Treasury Warns Ransomware Victims Who Pay Could Be Fined

It has been reported that the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) is issuing this advisory to highlight the sanctions risks associated with ransomware payments related to malicious cyber-enabled activities. Demand for ransomware payments has increased during the COVID-19 pandemic as cyber actors target online systems that U.S. persons rely on to continue conducting business. Companies that facilitate ransomware payments to cyber actors on behalf of victims, including financial institutions, cyber insurance firms, and companies involved in digital forensics and incident response, not only encourage future ransomware payment demands but also may risk violating OFAC regulations. This advisory describes these sanctions risks and provides information for contacting relevant U.S. government agencies, including OFAC, if there is a reason to believe the cyber actor demanding ransomware payment may be sanctioned or otherwise have a sanctions nexus.