FinCEN August ‘Exchange’ on ransomware to include FIs, other agencies

A meeting with invited financial institution representatives and other stakeholders to discuss ongoing concerns about ransomware and efforts to address those is slated next month by the Treasury Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), the agency announced Thursday.

The August Exchange will build upon the a meeting held in November, the first Exchange session on ransomware, FinCEN noted, and is aimed at helping its government and private sector partners to inform next steps to address ransomware and focus resources to mitigate the threat.

“As the past few months have demonstrated, the surge in ransomware attacks threatens our critical infrastructure, municipalities and the most vulnerable among us and is increasingly impacting the lives of the American people,” said FinCEN Acting Director Michael Mosier. “Since this extortion threatens our collective safety, it is critical that we collaboratively gather to confront this threat together and determine the best way to increase our collective resilience to these malicious attacks.”

FinCEN pointed out that ransomware attacks are a growing concern for the financial sector given that financial institutions can be targeted by such attacks and in light of reputational and financial integrity concerns about the role financial institutions might play in the processing of ransom payments. It pointed to its October 2020 advisory (FIN-2020-A006), issued to alert financial institutions to predominant trends, typologies, and potential indicators of ransomware and associated money laundering activities. It noted also that ransomware was included this June in FinCEN’s first-ever set of government-wide priorities for anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism policy.

FinCEN’s website has an FAQ page that notes the Exchange’s initial program is convening regularly scheduled, and as-needed, operational briefings with law enforcement, FinCEN, and financial institutions to provide specific information on priority illicit finance and national security threats. Financial institutions and others attend by invitation. FinCEN also provided no specific date in August for the coming Exchange.

Second FinCEN Exchange on Ransomware to Take Place in August

RR: Interagency statement notes first-ever AML/CFT national priorities; rules yet to come (June 30, 2021)

RR: Advisories by FinCEN, OFAC seek to combat rising incidence of ransomware, effect on business (Oct. 1, 2020)

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