IT Pro is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

US wants answers over FBI delay in helping Kaseya ransomware victims

Bipartisan criticism grows over FBI’s actions following REvil ransomware attack

The US House Committee on Oversight and Reform has insisted on answers from the FBI over its three-week delay in providing decryption keys to businesses attacked by REvil ransomware.

"To understand the FBI's decision, the lawmakers are requesting a briefing from the FBI on its legal and policy rationale for withholding the ransomware key, as well as the FBI's overall strategy for addressing, investigating, preventing, and defeating ransomware attacks," the Committee said in a statement.

In a letter addressed to FBI Director Chris Wray, Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney and ranking member Rep. James Comer said that the FBI withheld this tool for nearly three weeks as it worked to disrupt the attack, potentially costing the ransomware victims — including schools and hospitals — millions of dollars.

“Earlier this summer, a Florida-based software company was the victim of a ransomware attack that compromised between 800 and 1,500 businesses around the world,” the committee heads said.

"Congress must be fully informed whether the FBI's strategy and actions are adequately and appropriately addressing this damaging trend,” they said. 

“Ransomware hackers have shown their willingness and ability to inflict damage on various sectors of the US economy. Congress must be fully informed whether the FBI's strategy and actions are adequately and appropriately addressing this damaging trend."

The FBI obtained the decryption keys by accessing servers of the Russian-based hackers involved in the attacks this July, according to the Washington Post. The FBI held the keys as part of an operation to disrupt the hackers and did not want to alert them of it. However, before the FBI had a chance to mount a counterattack, REvil’s platform went offline. 

In his testimony in front of Congress last week, Director Wray blamed the delay on other law enforcement agencies who asked the FBI not to disseminate the keys. He added there were limits to what he could say because investigations are ongoing.

“We make the decisions as a group, not unilaterally,” he said. Wray added that there are “complex… decisions, designed to create maximum impact, and that takes time in going against adversaries where we have to marshal resources not just around the country but all over the world."

Congress demanded a response from the FBI over the allegations by October 6. 

Featured Resources

The 3D skills report

Add 3D skills to your creative toolkits and play a sizeable role in the digital future

Free Download

The increasing need for environmental intelligence solutions

How sustainability has become a major business priority and is continuing to grow in importance

Free Download

2022 State of the multi-cloud report

What are the biggest multi-cloud motivations for decision-makers, and what are the leading challenges

Free Download

Solve global challenges with machine learning

Tackling our word's hardest problems with ML

Free Download

Recommended

Threat hunting for MSPs
Whitepaper

Threat hunting for MSPs

10 Jan 2023
IBM LinuxONE for dummies
Whitepaper

IBM LinuxONE for dummies

4 Jan 2023
Six myths of SIEM
Whitepaper

Six myths of SIEM

3 Jan 2023
Storage's role in addressing the challenges of ensuring cyber resilience
Whitepaper

Storage's role in addressing the challenges of ensuring cyber resilience

3 Jan 2023

Most Popular

Why energy efficient technology is key to a sustainable business
Sponsored

Why energy efficient technology is key to a sustainable business

16 Jan 2023
Windows 10 users locked out of devices by unskippable Microsoft 365 advert
bugs

Windows 10 users locked out of devices by unskippable Microsoft 365 advert

3 Feb 2023
What's powering Britain’s fibre broadband boom?
Network & Internet

What's powering Britain’s fibre broadband boom?

3 Feb 2023