In a recent letter to the UK law society, the UK Information Commissioner’s Office and the National Cyber Security Centre have provided lawyers with advice about ransomware payments. The two agencies cautioned lawyers that such payments would not help “protect” the data, mitigate the risk to individuals, or result in a lower ICO penalty in the event of a regulatory investigation. Instead, they stated in a release that accompanied the letter, lawyers “should not advise clients to pay ransomware demands should they fall victim to a cyber-attack.”
In the wake of increased ransomware attacks over the course of the last several months, the US Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has updated a guidance it released last year on potential sanction risks if facilitating ransomware payments. As indicated in the original guidance, OFAC has designated several threat actors as “malicious cyber attackers,” including the developers of Cryptolocker, SamSam, WannaCry, and Dridex. OFAC has indicated that it will impose sanctions on those who financially (or otherwise support) these actors, including by making ransomware payments to them. Sanctions can range from non-public (for example No Action Letters or Cautionary Letters) to public actions (including for example payment of civil monetary penalties).
Continue Reading Do You Have a Risk-Based Sanctions Compliance Program?: In the Event of a Ransomware Attack, OFAC Wants to Know