What the OFAC Advisory Means for Companies that Pay Ransom

By Leslie Ireland

The Hon. Leslie Ireland is the former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Intelligence and Analysis. She joined Treasury in 2010 after 25 years at CIA where she specialized in Iran, the Middle East and WMD. Ms. Ireland retired in November 2016 after more than 31 years in the Intelligence Community. Prior to joining the Treasury Department, from 2008-2010 Ms. Ireland served as daily intelligence briefer to President. As the first DNI Iran Mission Manager from 2005-2008, she served as the principal advisor to the DNI on Iran and was responsible for overseeing the intelligence process on Iran for the entire US government. Ms. Ireland is currently on the Board of Directors of Citigroup, Inc. and The Stimson Center. She is also a member of the Chubb Insurance Cyber Advisory Board, of Tapestry Network’s Cyber Risk Director Network and on the Board of Advisors of Cyber Florida. Ms. Ireland is the recipient of the Alexander Hamilton Award, the highest award bestowed by the Secretary of the Treasury, the Intelligence Community Seal Medallion, personally awarded by the DNI, the National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal (2016 and 2008), and the CIA Intelligence Commendation Medal. She is a graduate of Franklin and Marshall College and Georgetown University.

Earlier this month, the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) issued an advisory, reminding businesses that if they pay ransom to cyber hackers, they could be violating OFAC regulations. At first glance, it puts businesses that are already in an incredibly difficult situation, in an even harder one.

The Cipher Brief is bringing you expert perspective on what this could mean for businesses all week. Today, we hear from Cipher Brief expert and former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Intelligence and Analysis Leslie Ireland for her take on what this means for business.

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