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Jawad Ramal is a Michigan State University College of Law student pursuing a Juris Doctor degree. He focuses on law and technology, finance, copyright, and trademark law issues. Before attending law school, Jawad earned a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations and Political Philosophy from the University of Toronto. Jawad is currently interested in how new technologies impact the legal profession. Jawad’s keen interest in new technologies and the law was developed through his experience as an equities and cryptocurrency trader, which he continues to pursue during law school. This practical experience informs his understanding of the evolving challenges and opportunities that new technologies pose to the legal profession. Jawad continues to develop his interest by writing and researching the intersection of finance, technology, and the law.

Ransomware in the Digital Age: Multidisciplinary Legal Strategies for Minimizing Cryptocurrency Ransom Payments

The year 2023 witnessed an unprecedented escalation in ransomware attacks, affecting users from homeowners to critical infrastructure like healthcare, education, and government. With over 5,200 reported incidents—a 74% increase from the previous year—ransomware has not only intensified in frequency but also sophistication and financial demands, with total payments exceeding $1 billion. This surge highlights the value of data and the increasing likelihood that victims will pay ransoms, often facilitated by cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. Cryptocurrencies have played a pervasive role in the rise in ransomware attacks due to their anonymity and ability to facilitate cross-border payments. Jawad Ramal explains how using cryptocurrencies to facilitate ransom payments offers complex challenges due to their high transaction costs and regulatory ambiguities that complicate compliance efforts. The pervasive role of cryptocurrencies in ransomware attacks underscores the necessity for multi-disciplinary legal professions that are capable of utilizing blockchain analytic tools, financial hedging techniques, and general knowledge of the evolving cryptocurrency space. Instituting safe harbor provisions would also ensure that victims do not face the threat of prosecution after making ransom payments.

Subjects: Blockchain, Cryptocurrency, Cybercrime, Cybersecurity, Economy, Education, Legal Research