Cyber Cheats

US lawmakers to clamp down on criminal gangs targeting schools.

The US Justice Department is creating a task force to tackle the growing threat of ransomware and extortion schemes targeting school districts.

A Ransomware and Digital Extortion Task Force will include Justice Department officials as well as representatives from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

A recent memo from the Justice Department stated the task force will target the “ransomware criminal ecosystem as a whole,” which means prosecuting those behind the attacks as well as those who launder money that’s extorted.

“This will include the use of all available criminal, civil, and administrative actions for enforcement, ranging from takedowns of servers used to spread ransomware to seizures of these criminal enterprises’ ill-gotten gains.”

Ransomware gangs have been demanding multimillion-dollar extortion payments from victims, including several large corporations, in exchange for not publishing stolen data.

A recent report estimated criminal groups reaped $370 million in ransom payments in 2020, up 336% from 2019.

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