Business & Finance

Not Cryptos But Cash Was Used to Withdraw Stolen Funds in Russia

Surprisingly, the latest discovery in Russia tells that crypto isn’t the first choice of bad actors. Recently, revealed by the first deputy director of the information security department of the Bank of Russia, Artem Sychev. While giving an interview, Sychev said that the criminals prefer to cash stolen money out rather than withdraw them with digital currency.

The ‘Dark Web‘ has been associated with bitcoin numerous times and cryptocurrency adversaries criticize bitcoin for being the tool of fraudsters, in Russia, things are completely different. Providing reasoning for this latest findings, Sychev explained:

In the Russian Federation, this is used very rarely. Yes, sometimes cryptocurrencies are used to withdraw funds, but now it is not massive, because it is much easier for an attacker to get cash.

Sychev also elaborated that central banks scrutinized methods were opted by the people for withdrawing funds. In addition to that, the bank also worked for developing protective measures to safeguard users’ funds. He also emphasized that apart from understanding technologies and methodologies employed for attacking, understanding mechanisms and approaches used for withdrawing money hold equal significance.

Further, uncovering how he and his department will deploy attention to this aspect, he provided an example:

For example, if we see that attackers learn to quickly withdraw money through some specific channel – and we will see it – then we will accordingly build additional measures of protection in this direction.

While Russia doesn’t blame cryptocurrencies, things turned out to be completely different a few weeks ago when Chainalysis revealed its findings. The research by Chainalysis showed that about 64% of the ransomware attackers utilized the services of cryptocurrency exchanges for cashing out.

READ ALSO: Despite Ruble Drop, Russia Considering to Legalize Crypto Trading

In the period of four years, from 2015 till 2019, there had been 52,000 victims of ransomware attacks. Chainalysis also openly stated that 38 crypto exchanges were fully aware of the ransomware attackers though the specific names of exchanges weren’t shared.

While Chainalysis held crypto exchanges responsible for supporting the evil intentions of the fraudsters and attackers, a report by Coveware revealed that bitcoin was more than the king of decentralized digital currencies. Comparative to all other cryptos, bitcoin accounted for as much as 98% of total ransom amount paid. Simply put forward in the report:

Bitcoin continues to be the most common cryptocurrency for ransomware payments and handling cryptocurrency continued to be a major source of friction for victims, and thus the threat actors as well.

READ ALSO: Crypto Exchange Hack: Russian Link Found in Email Viruses

Crypto ransomware attacks have been expanding to governmental authorities as well. Recently, a city of South Florida was under severe attack and the leaders of the city had no other option than to surrender to the demand of the attackers.

Similarly, in the past, Baltimore was taken over by the hackers who demanded 13 bitcoins for freeing the local system. All this shows that bitcoin is the most trending cryptocurrency among the attackers and fraudsters.

Although cryptocurrencies were successful in maintaining their image in Russia, they failed to dodge criticism from other regions of the world. Bitcoin and other cryptos have been catching bad air since their inception. Besides ransomware attacks, there have been a plethora of hacks where the funds of millions of dollars worth had been stolen. In the last year alone, $1 billion worth cryptocurrencies were stolen by the hackers. Alone bitcoin has experienced such serious blows that almost 1 million bitcoin were lost due to thefts and hacks.

READ ALSO: Countdown for Russia’s Central Bank Crypto has Begun

Apart from all these scenarios, the case of Quadriga Cx, where with the death of CEO, Gerald Cotten, bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies of millions of dollars of worth got lost, seriously damaging the perception of bitcoin and blockchain. Collectively, this all never ends up against the mass adoption.

Frequent incidents of bitcoin ransomware payments, hacks and security breaches, show that the awareness of bitcoin is increasing. There are already several assets capable of manipulation and hacks but hackers still opt for bitcoin. This shows that the value of cryptocurrencies is understood by a majority and as the awareness will see nothing but an expansion, increase in hacking and illegal activities can be anticipated.

READ ALSO: Decoding Russia’s Mysterious Gold-Backed Crypto

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Fatir Malik

Electrical engineer by profession, turned into blockchain developer. Fatir contributes regularly with his insights about latest developments in fintech sector. Contact the editor at editor.opinions@blockpublisher.com

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