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UK Warns Lawyers Not to Advise Ransomware Payments

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UK Warns Lawyers Not to Advise Ransomware Payments

UK Warns Lawyers Not to Advise Ransomware Payments

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UK Warns Attorneys To not Advise Ransomware Funds

By Kevin Townsend on July 12, 2022


The NCSC and the ICO have warned UK legal professionals to not advise purchasers to pay a ransom to cybercriminals

In a letter addressed to UK legal professionals dated July 7, 2022, the UK’s Nationwide Cyber Safety Heart (NCSC) and the Info Commissioner’s Workplace (ICO), have reiterated – with enamel – the official stance on not paying a ransom.

From the regulation enforcement standpoint, the letter explains, “Regulation Enforcement doesn’t encourage, endorse nor condone the cost of ransoms. Whereas funds will not be normally illegal, payers ought to be aware of how related sanctions regimes (notably these associated to Russia) – and their related public steerage – could change that place.”

The implicit warning is that sanctions in opposition to Russia may technically make cost of a ransom to a Russian cyber gang successfully if not really unlawful. Ignorance of the attackers’ nationality can be a harmful tactic, for the reason that NCSC particularly states that NCSC is a part of GCHQ – and GCHQ, just like the NSA, would know.

The regulation enforcement warning will solely apply to corporations with a presence within the UK – however different international locations working present sanctions in opposition to Russia may take an identical stance.

The second warning refers back to the UK information safety regulator, the ICO. In setting regulatory fines, the ICO will usually take into account actions taken to mitigate the danger of hurt to people concerned in an information breach. This doesn’t apply to paying a ransom within the hope of recovering private information stolen in a double extortion assault.

“For the avoidance of doubt,” says the letter, “the ICO doesn’t take into account the cost of monies to criminals who’ve attacked a system as mitigating the danger to people and this is not going to scale back any penalties incurred by means of ICO enforcement motion.”

In brief, paying a ransom may go away an organization open to costs of sanctions busting, whereas having no impact on any subsequent ICO enforcement. Given the worldwide nature of GDPR and the UK’s present implementation of the UK GDPR, this may additionally apply to North American and different international locations’ corporations who pay a ransom to get well stolen European PII.

Associated: It Would not Pay to Pay: Examine Finds 80% of Ransomware Victims Attacked Once more

Associated: The Psychology of Ransomware Response

Associated: SecurityWeek Cyber Insights 2022: Ransomware

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