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Former UK Cybersecurity Chief Says Laws Needed to Stop Ransomware Payouts

The U.K.’s former cybersecurity chief has said companies paying hackers to recover from ransomware attacks are funding organized crime and new laws may be needed to stop the practice

Ciaran Martin, who was the founding chief executive of the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), told The Guardian that insurance firms sending funds on behalf of affected companies have made it “OK to pay out to criminals.”

As reported by Coindesk, Martin stated that “People are paying bitcoin (BTC) to criminals and claiming back cash” via insurance claims.

According to the report, criminal gangs often from Russia or other former Soviet states are fueling the ransomware problem.

The U.K.’s extortion laws were formed mainly in response to the threat of kidnapping and forbid the payment of ransoms to terrorists, but don’t apply to ransomware demands.

Martin stated:

“In the last year, experts are saying this is close to getting out of control. You have to look seriously about changing the law on insurance and banning these payments, or at the very least, having a major consultation with the industry”.

Recently, Chainalysis reported that ransomware attacks were up 311% in 2020 when compared to the year before.

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