Treasury Announces Steps to Counter Ransomware Threat

As part of its ongoing efforts to counter the growing threat of ransomware, the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control today released an updated advisory on potential sanctions risks for facilitating ransomware payments. The advisory emphasized that the government discourages paying cyber ransom or extortion demands and stresses the importance of improving cybersecurity.

OFAC also announced sanctions against a virtual currency exchange for the first time. OFAC designated SUEX OTC for facilitating financial transactions for ransomware. More than 40% of SUEX’s known transactions history is associated with illicit actors, Treasury said.

The action blocks U.S. citizens and entities from engaging in transactions with SUEX and opens sanctions or enforcement action against financial institutions engaged in transactions with the virtual currency exchange.