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Dear Ransomware Victim and Your Accountants, Attorneys and Forensic Specialists: The Government Just Made Your Life Harder [Lowndes Tech]

October 07, 2020

Shareholder Drew Sorrell discusses a recent announcement by the Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) that it will begin to sanction companies, individuals and intermediaries that facilitate ransomware payments. 


By now, most everyone knows that ransomware is software that infects your computer system, makes your data irretrievable and usually breaks things along the way. To unlock your system, the bad guys (or girls) demand you pay a ransom, usually via Bitcoin or similar currency. In exchange for your payment, the bad guys promise to provide you the key to unlock your data and promise not release your data on the Internet or auction if off to the highest criminal bidder. Depending on the professionalism (yes, professionalism) of the bad guy, once you’ve made your payment, you may or may not be able to unlock your system, and they may or may not delete your data versus release or auction it.

In the United States, federal law enforcement authorities have long requested that companies not pay ransoms. This used to be for the salutary reason that if no company pays, there would be no market for ransomware. Likewise, there was this annoying problem that paying ransoms under U.S. law technically may be illegal. I am not, however, aware of any prosecution of a company that paid a ransom. [...]

This is an excerpt from a blog post originally written on Lowndes Tech. To read the entire post, click here.


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Drew

Drew Sorrell's practice focuses on complex commercial issues, relating to both litigation and contract/policy drafting.


Drew has years of experience litigating business matters, intellectual property/patent infringement disputes, data breach/privacy issues, wire fraud (spoofing/spear phishing), business torts/disputes, insurance coverage, personal injury and employment litigation. Likewise, he has significant experience drafting and negotiating software licenses (SaaS), Internet service provider agreements, data privacy/breach policies and procedures, employment/services agreements as well as the indemnity and insurance coverage related to those agreements.

Initially, Drew began his legal career as a judicial clerk to Senior United States District Judge John H. Moore II, in Jacksonville, Florida, and then practiced with an AmLaw top 10 firm in Manhattan primarily in their litigation department. After spending some time as an assistant county attorney responsible for litigation, he joined Lowndes and is currently chair of the firm’s multi-discipline Cybersecurity, Privacy & eDiscovery Group.

A founding member of the Sedona Conference Group 11 (Privacy/Data Security), Drew is frequently asked to speak and write on legal and ethical issues arising from technology, including unfair and deceptive trade practices, data breach, privacy, data governance, and technology contract drafting. He is also currently serving as chair of the Orange County Bar Association Intellectual Property Committee.

Drew has argued to the United States Court of Appeal for the Eleventh Circuit, at the federal level, and the Fifth District Court of Appeal at the state level. He is admitted to The United States Supreme Court Bar, as well as the Florida, New York and District of Columbia Bars. He is admitted to practice before all federal district courts in Florida as well as the Southern District of New York.

Born in Florida, Drew roots for his adopted football team—the FSU Seminoles (because neither Rollins nor George Washington has a football team). He is a proud father of two sons who play basketball and soccer, make great grades and generally keep him very busy in his spare time.

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