Bitcoin mining, like many other virtual activities, began underground. Now it's a multi-billion-dollar market with tech pioneers like Elon Musk claiming it will be the currency of the future.
While this might be great news for early cryptocurrency investors, the growing acceptance of crypto could be another obstacle when it comes to securing your organization.
Why? In the cybersecurity industry, the lack of regulations for digital currency is leading to an increase in ransomware attacks and cybercrimes, according to experts like Paul Rosenzweig.
A call to get to 'the root' of cybercrime
The New York Times recently published an opinion piece by Paul Rosenzweig, a lawyer who specializes in cybersecurity issues.
In the article, Rosenzweig says:
"Ransomware attacks occur because criminals make money from them. If we can make it harder to profit from such attacks, they will decrease."
Rosenzweig called for aggressively regulating cryptocurrency. He gave the Biden Administration credit for taking steps towards solving the ransomware problem, but said none of the steps so far have addressed "the root" of the cause.
To illustrate his point, Rosenzweig made an analogy between real-world crime and cybercrime. This includes the way each type of crime is funded.
"In the nonvirtual world, kidnappings for ransom are wildly unsuccessful. Between 95 percent and 98 percent of criminals involved in cases of kidnapping for ransom that are reported to the police are caught and convicted. Why? In part because at the moment when the victims are exchanged for cash, the criminals put themselves at great risk of identification and capture."
Something that rarely happens in regards to ransomware and cryptocurrency.
Not a question of if, but how
For many, it is not a matter of whether cryptocurrency needs to be regulated by the government, but the process of how and how fast it should be done.
In another opinion piece written by Jake Ryan, CIO for Tradecraft Capital, he says:
"Regulating too expansively would be like regulating the internet before we understood how online commerce was going to function in the world. Back in the early days of the internet, could not have predicted the role that personal data mining and political disinformation would play, much less how to protect consumers against it. At the time, the industry was pushing for an open internet where anyone could put up a web page."
Coinbase is a cryptocurrency exchange platform. Company CEO Brian Armstrong tells CNBC that regulation is a significant risk to his industry and he is calling for fairness.
"We're very excited and happy to play by the rules. And basically, we just ask that, hey, we want to be treated on those level playing field with traditional financial services at the very least and not have any kind of punishment for being in the crypto space."
Congress is currently working on passing an infrastructure bill to increase reporting about cryptocurrency, which is forecast to lead to billions of dollars in tax revenue over the next decade.
Also, many states are working on their own cryptocurrency policies. Learn more about cryptocurrency legislation in your state here.
In addition to regulating cryptocurrency, another idea for addressing the ransomware threat is to make ransom payments illegal. That was the topic of a recent SecureWorld LinkedIn livestream. Watch here:
In the meantime, check out ransomware panels on upcoming SecureWorld conference agendas.