The US Treasury Department is sanctioning a cryptocurrency exchange for the first time for helping hackers launder money after ransomware.
The US Treasury, in cooperation with the FBI, has imposed sanctions on cryptocurrency exchange SUEX. This is the first time they have taken such action in relation to computer crime and in a cryptocurrency company, According to the ministry’s message.
According to the US authorities, the exchange, a platform for buying and selling cryptocurrencies, made it possible for hackers to launder money after ransomware attacks.
It is claimed that about 40 percent of SUEX transactions are associated with such illegal attacks.
Authorities are now banning US citizens and businesses from trading with SUEX. Violations of sanctions can be punished with fines.
SUEX was founded in the Czech Republic, but is said to have customers in large parts of the world, according to financial times.
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In recent years, there has been an increase in the number of computer attacks, where hackers take control of systems or computers until a ransom is paid.
The US Treasury estimates it quadrupled from 2019 to 2020 alone, with ransom payments of more than $400 million, the equivalent of $3.5 billion. At the same time, they believe that the attacks entail much greater costs and losses than that.
The ministry notes that while activity with cryptocurrency is primarily legal, cryptocurrency is also used for illegal activities, either through intermediaries such as cryptocurrency exchanges or with direct person-to-person transfers.
The press release states that “some cryptocurrency exchanges are being exploited by malicious players, while others, such as with SUEX, facilitate illegal activities for their illicit gain.”
Authorities around the world are now working hard on regulations related to cryptocurrency, in line with the sharp increase in interest in recent years.
Here at home, Finanstilsynet has warned people for several rounds of the dangers of buying cryptocurrency. Earlier this year, the body backed a joint statement from several European financial supervisors regarding the risks of investing in virtual currency.
At the time of writing, Bitcoin is down 5.6 percent to $41,626.
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The press release can be found hereFinancial Times: US imposes sanctions on cryptocurrency exchanges in ransomware campaignThe US Treasury Department Sanctions Cryptocurrency Exchanges for Their Alleged Role in Ransomware Attacks
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