The Cost of Aiding and Abetting

$590 million dollars. That’s the cost of aiding and abetting ransomware criminals in the first half of this year. That’s what so-called victims of ransomware attacks paid to their putative attackers to reward them for their crimes. Moreover,

The average cost of reported ransomware payments per month in the US in 2021 was $102.3 million. If the current trend continues, the number of SARs filed in 2021 “are projected to have a higher ransomware-related transaction value than SARs filed in the previous 10 years combined,” the Treasury projects.

(The average cost and the total cost differ by about 4%, but the point remains valid.)

Andrew Lipow, Lipow Oil Associates LLC CEO, is busy ducking responsibility—and he’s sadly typical:

The anonymity of a digital currency has allowed ransomware attacks to flourish. If you can’t follow the money today, regulators need to either ban the digital currencies or implement regulations that enable the identification of people and accounts involved in these transactions—just like they would do for a real bank.

Sure. Because criminals engaged in ransomware attacks can be counted on to obey currency laws. What a copout.

Aside from that, whether digital currencies need to be regulated is wholly irrelevant. What’s required is for businessmen to stop paying the ransom, stop rewarding criminals for their crimes, stop actively aiding and abetting criminals. They’re only making their companies willing repeat targets.

Beyond that, this is more than just money out of these companies’ coffers. It’s money out of other companies’ coffers, too, those that are downstream in the supply chain from the company that decides it’s fine to reward the criminals. They have to pay the higher prices the “victim” companies charge to cover their payoffs ransom payments.

It’s also money out of the coffers of other, otherwise unrelated, companies as they must bear the added security costs accruing from having also been made targets by those putative victims so amply rewarding the crimes and the criminals engaged in them.

It’s money out of us consumers’ pockets, too, in the form of increased prices we have to pay as those company executives just treat the “ransom” payments as a cost center, a cost of doing business.

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