Paying off ransomware criminals shouldn’t be illegal: Stephen R. Carter

(Stephen L. Carter is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He is a professor of law at Yale University and was a clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall. This op-ed piece first appeared on Bloomberg on June 10.)

Lots of companies have lately been victimized by ransomware hackers — cybercriminals who infiltrate and encrypt IT systems, then demand money to unlock them. In response to the growing threat, more and more observers have become attracted to the theory that the best way to stop ransomware attacks is to make paying the ransom illegal. Biden administration officials have suggested that the notion has merit. May I suggest, politely, that this is a terrible idea …

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