06 Jun 2021

The US to give ransomware threat same priority as terrorism

The US to give ransomware threats same priority as terrorism

Yair Cohen explains in this live panel discussion that as the US internal security services have requested powers that will allow them to handle ransomware hacking crimes, it might be time to extend terrorism powers to other crimes, such as riots and murders.

Internal security organisations in the US, have requested powers to allow them handle ransomware threat the same they handle terrorism.

This might sound good and sensible, considering the real threat ransomware is posing to companies that the public rely on for data processing, electricity supply, food manufacturing and other necessities.

But a deeper look into the matter shows the danger to companies and individuals where the state begins to extend the types of crime it considers should be treated with the powers equivalent to the powers it has taken to combat terrorism.


Yair Cohen asks that as US internal security services have requested powers that will allow them to handle ransomware hacking crimes in the same way that they handle terrorism activities, why not include other crimes too with the same draconian investigatory powers. For example, why not treat riots, and murders in the same way we treat terrorisms. This will surely help eradicate both crimes.

Whilst there is a link between ransomware hacking, money laundering and terrorist activities, the idea that dealing with ransom hackers could be done through measures that currently are reserved for terrorism cases, might cause concerns to many.

The powers that the internal security services are likely to gain might include:

  • an easier grant of covert surveillance permissions
  • a right to make pre-emptive arrests quicker and with less bureaucracy
  • access to information which is currently being shared by security services only in relation to anti terrorism activities
  • a right to freeze asset of suspects
  • a right to make ad-hoc and emergency orders affecting individuals and organisations’
  • a right to free access
  • a right of access to private properties
  • better international co-operation with other internal security services in Europe in particular
  • other freedoms and other orders, which up until now, had been reserved for suspected terrorists only.

Treating ransomware hacking crime with the same powers as terrorism, will likely to result with be more federal government involvement and control over matter that might otherwise be dealt with locally by the states.

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