Crime Pays in Cryptocurrency

Crime pays in Cryptocurrency. Some cryptocurrency exchanges aren’t doing a good job of safeguarding their users’ assets. Hackers use platforms to hide the location of their ransom payments. North Korean hackers have attacked Hong Kong and South Korean stock exchanges.

In response to the recessive effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, excessive liquidity from expansive monetary policies and crime pays. Combined with the irrational enthusiasm of the markets. Has resulted in a second bitcoin and cryptocurrency boom. Thus, the global market capitalization of cryptocurrencies has increased by 1,153.41 percent. Since March 11, 2020 (when President Trump announced a suspension of air travel between the United States and Europe due to the pandemic). Reaching US$1.72 trillion on June 16, 2021 (when the pandemic was declared over).

The adoption of cryptocurrencies in retail payments is still a long way off. Notwithstanding bullish media narratives and crypto enthusiast communities. Setting aside the question of whether a “currency” with a highly volatile value can be used as a means of payment. For things other than digital assets such as non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Retail investors frequently join cryptocurrency transfer platforms and trading exchanges with little to no knowledge of the security failures. That have occurred on those platforms. Old and current stories show misconduct, fraud, and blatant criminality perpetrated by and crime pays. And enabled by cryptocurrency platforms, as well as the platforms themselves.

WHEN THE CUSTODIAN DOESN’T CUSTODY: THE FALL OF MT. GOX

Turkish authorities terminated the operations of Thodex. A cryptocurrency trading platform, in mid-April 2021 due to allegations of fraud. The Thodex platform had also approximately 400,000 active users and nearly $2 billion in assets.

Faruk Fatih Ozer, the creator of Thodex, fled Turkey for Albania. Due to a cyberattack, Thodex has locked customers out of their accounts, according to Ozer. Given the weakening of the Turkish currency and rising inflation. Many people in Turkey have resorted to storing their money in cryptocurrencies. Turkey’s central bank also just banned the use of crypto assets on April 16.

THE DIGITAL WALLETS OF RANSOMWARE ATTACKERS

Cryptocurrencies, by definition, make transactions difficult to trace. Making them a popular payment method for fraudsters. Ransomware assaults have surged in recent years, according to cybersecurity experts. Due to the payment of ransoms in cryptocurrency.

The attacks on Colonial Pipeline (operator of one of the largest US pipelines. Delivering refined gasoline and jet fuel from Texas to New York) and Ireland’s Health Service Executive are two recent examples (HSE). The HSE also stated that the hackers demanded a bitcoin ransom. Which “would not be paid in accordance with state policy,” according to a spokeswoman.

Colonial Pipeline recovered its stolen data after paying its extortionists 75 bitcoins (approximately $5 million). Elliptic, a blockchain-analytics startup. Revealed that it followed Colonial Pipeline’s payment to criminal group DarkSide, according to Tom Robinson, a co-founder and chief scientist. According to Elliptic, the hackers’ digital wallet has been active since March 2021. Receiving “57 payments from 21 different wallets totaling US$17.5 million.”

According to Robinson, DarkSide’s wallet sent 18% of the bitcoins to other cryptocurrency exchanges and 4% to Hydra. “The world’s largest darknet marketplace, serving customers in Russia and nearby nations… Cash-out services are available alongside narcotics, hacking tools, and phony IDs. Bitcoin can be exchanged for gift cards, prepaid debit cards, or cash rubles using these services.”

Since then, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) has claimed that it has recovered US$2.3 million. In bitcoin from Colonial’s US$4.4 million ransom payment to DarkSide. The FBI allegedly obtained the password to a bitcoin wallet where DarkSide had delivered the ransom money. Allowing the FBI to confiscate the monies, according to the DOJ.

NORTH KOREAN HACKERS TARGET CRYPTO EXCHANGES

A 2019 report to the UN Security Council estimates North Korean hackers had raised about $2 billion in cyber heists. In addition, despite UN and US sanctions. The North Korean leadership relies on cryptocurrency thefts to earn hard currency, according to a recent New Yorker article by Ed Caesar.  Kim Jong-hackers un’s have stolen at least $1.75 billion. In digital coins from trade platforms, according to Jesse Spiro of Chainalaysis. That sum may cover roughly 10% of the defense budget.

They generally target admins with access to escrow accounts with clients’ coins. The escrow accounts or “hot wallets” allow instant fund transfers. “Unlike a regular bank payment, you can’t reverse transactions once they’ve left the exchange. “They’re gone,” said Elliptic co-founder Tom Robinson.

Kim Jong-cyber-terrorists un’s targeted Hong Kong employees of a They stole 10,082 bitcoins. Worth $94 million at the time, now worth $600 million. Aiming to avoid detection, the North Korean hackers split the bitcoins among dozens of crypto exchanges. They cashed the coins and deposited them in Chinese banks using false names. In August 2019, Bithumb, a South Korean crypto exchange, had been searched four times.

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