Cryptocurrency's rise and the steep increase of ransomware attacks are highly linked, the FireEye CEO claims. 

Cryptocurrency Enables Ransomware Attacks to Increase, FireEye CEO Claims
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WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 23: FireEye CEO Kevin Mandia testifies during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Capitol Hill on February 23, 2021 in Washington, DC. The hearing focused on the 2020 cyberattack that resulted in a series of data breaches within several agencies and departments in the U.S. federal government.

FireEye CEO, Kevin Mandia, told CNBC that the rise of both ransomware and cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin has a "direct correlation." He further said that the "anonymous digital currency" enables attackers to be paid without a trace. 

Currently, cryptocurrencies still exhibit consistent rise despite critics tagging them as the riskiest asset globally. 

On the other hand, ransomware attacks have been ubiquitous, which, in turn, forced cyber insurance to have limited coverage. The rising ransoms asked by criminal minds have been hurting the insurance industry as well. Thus, the fees of their policies have also faced a steep increase.

The FireEye boss added that cybersecurity awareness has already reached an all-time high as attacks have extended their ill-effects to gas and food supply, with the Colonial Pipeline and JBS incidents. 

The latter paid about $11 million worth of Bitcoin to the attackers, whereas the pipeline spent $5 million to restore its services.

Cryptocurrency Enables Ransomware Attacks 

Mandia also urged people to analyze the continued rise of ransomware and cryptos, which have been parallel. 

He further claimed that digital currencies allow criminal minds, who infiltrate a system anonymously, to be paid untracked. Thus, hackers could do it even if they are "10,000 miles away in a safe harbor," the CEO said. 

Cryptocurrency Expert Disagrees 

However, a financial expert disagrees with the FireEye CEO's proposition. 

An Andreessen Horowitz venture capital firm partner, Katie Haun, told CNBC in a separate report that there is no truth to what others believe that Bitcoin helps criminal activities. 

Haun noted that crypto is a step forward for authorities as it has better traceability than what the former financial system has. She explained that despite the anonymity feature of crypto, it still leaves "digital bread crumbs," thus cyber crimes are likely to be easier to solve. 

Read Also: Crypto Weekend Drops Have Been Happening for Several Years, Experts Say--Here's Why

Cryptocurrency and Ransomware Attacks: What Now? 

Nevertheless, Mandia did not lose hope and suggested some solutions to lessen the use of cypto in cyberattacks. He suggested that Bitcoin or other cryptos could be less susceptible to criminal use if they were made less anonymous, as per Seeking Alpha

The FireEye boss further highlighted that the government serves a crucial role in fixing the cyberattack issue. 

Mandia said that the United States should use diplomacy to push other countries that protect cyber criminals on their soil. 

On June 27, ransomware payments are likely to be taxed soon to discourage companies and organizations from answering the hackers' plea. 

Related Article: Ransomware Roundup: Cl0p Releases New Stolen Data; EU, US to Team Up Against Attacks

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Written by Teejay Boris 

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