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FinCEN Holds Virtual FinCEN Exchange on Ransomware

WASHINGTON—The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) today convened a virtual FinCEN Exchange with representatives from financial institutions, technology firms, third-party service providers, and federal government agencies to discuss growing concerns regarding ransomware, as well as the efforts to curtail it.  Topics discussed included ransomware detection and reporting, emerging trends and typologies, and recovery of victims’ funds.

Ransomware is malicious software designed to block access to a computer system or data, often by encrypting data or programs to extort ransom payments from victims in exchange for decrypting the information and restoring victims’ access to their systems or data.  Ransomware attacks can lead to the loss of critical personal and commercial information, as well as compromised business functionality.  Ransomware attacks are indiscriminate, targeting not only government agencies and corporate entities, but also ordinary citizens, who are often forced to choose between paying exorbitant ransoms and sacrificing personal information, mementos of great sentimental value, and other important data.

Ransomware attacks are a growing concern for the financial sector, given the role of some financial institutions in the processing of ransom payments.  Last month, FinCEN issued an advisory to alert financial institutions to predominant trends, typologies, and potential indicators of ransomware and associated money-laundering activities.

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FinCEN Exchange is a voluntary public-private partnership that convenes relevant stakeholders, including law enforcement and financial institutions.  FinCEN Exchange aims to protect our national security and our citizens from harm by combatting money laundering and its related crimes, including terrorism, through public/private dialogue that encourages, enables, and acknowledges industry focus on high-value and high-impact activities.

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