Senators introduce bill to sanction nations involved in ransomware attacks

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Senators introduce bill to sanction nations involved in ransomware attacks

Top senators on the Senate Intelligence Committee also introduced bipartisan legislation Thursday that seeks to sanction any nation involved in ransomware attacks against the U.S.

The Sanction and Stop Ransomware Act, introduced by committee vice chair Marco Rubio, R-Fla. and Sen. Diane Feinstein, D-Calif. directs the Secretary of State in coordination with Director of National Intelligence to identify and impose penalties on states that sponsor ransomware attacks.

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The secretary and DNI would be responsible for determining if a ransomware attack was state-supported, including by providing a safe haven for individuals or groups.

The legislation would then force the U.S. president to sanction any state sponsor of ransomware a policy that is inconsistent with sanctions levied against state terrorism.

Cybercriminals don't discriminate they target small companies, large corporations, and government agencies through ransomware, Feinstein said in a statement. Congress must do more to support all companies and organizations struggling to deal with these escalating attacks.

The Biden administration accused the China government of having a hand in the breach. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said China's Ministry of State Security fostered an ecosystem of Cyberattackers who carry out both state-sponsored activities and cybercrime for their own financial gain.

In an effort to stave off future attacks, the bill calls for the creation of cybersecurity standards for critical infrastructure groups in both the public and private sectors.

The bill would require federal agencies, government contractors and critical infrastructure owners and operators to report any attack within 24 hours to the cybersecurity and intelligence security agency, which would be tasked with developing a new ransomware reporting system.

Ransomware attacks threaten the health and safety of countless Americans, said Rubio in a statement. I think it is time for the United States to take decisive action in the US economy to protect American businesses, infrastructure, and government institutions.