Democratic Lawmakers Press Federal Agencies to Act on Ransomware


A group of Democratic lawmakers has written to the heads of four federal agencies, expressing an urgent need for the Biden administration to continue combating ransomware, pushing for “stronger coordination” between their departments to address the role of cryptocurrency in facilitating the attacks. Senators Ed Markey (D-MA) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Representatives Jim Langevin (D-RI) and Ted Lieu (D-CA) sent the letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Secretary of Homeland Security Aljeandro Mayorkas, Attorney General Merrick Garland, and Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen.

The legislators cite figures from the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, which received nearly 2,500 ransomware reports in 2020, with related losses amounting to $29.1 million. They report a 20% increase in reported incidents, and a 225% increase in ransom amounts demanded since 2019, with some 70% to 75% of ransomware attacks still unreported, describing this as a threat to national security. They ask the agencies to report on their recent efforts in this area, what measures they have considered, and a list of what they need from Congress to do better.