Agree to Disagree: Cyber War and Hacker Ransoms


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With cyber threats and ransomware on the rise globally, the Biden administration has enlisted America’s tech titans to help blunt their effects. Amazon, Microsoft, and Google, are all in discussions with Washington over how to strengthen the nation’s critical infrastructure defenses against a growing array of both private and state-sponsored attacks. Skeptics question just how much can be achieved, given how connected U.S. society has become. But solutions are emerging, from lifting the veil of cryptocurrencies, a favored transaction among hackers, to making the paying of ransoms illegal. In this special edition of Intelligence Squared’s Agree-to-Disagree series, John Donvan sits down with David Sanger of The New York Times for a closer examination of these attacks before launching into a much more specific debate with two cyber security experts. The debate: Should paying hacker ransoms be made illegal? Cyber Threat Alliance president and chief executive Michael Daniel and Rapid7 vice-president Jen Ellis square off in light of recent high-profile hackings.

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