Global authorities are hunting cryptocurrency payment channels exploited by ransomware threat actors

Global authorities cryptocurrency payment channels ransomware threat actors

The European Union and 31 other countries have gathered to obstruct the cryptocurrency payment channels that ransomware gangs have exploited to fund their cybercrime attacks.

From the virtual Counter-Ransomware Initiative meetings facilitated by the White House National Security Council, the countries formed the joint statement to address the ongoing cyber-attacks that exposed vulnerabilities throughout several organisations and infrastructures worldwide.

The joint statement was issued by different representatives and ministers from the US, the UK, Australia, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, France, India, Israel, Japan, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Sweden, Ukraine, Brazil, Canda, the Dominican Republic, the European Union, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Kenta, Mexico, New Zealand, Poland, Romania, South Africa, Switzerland, and United Arab Emirates. 

 

About a total of $500 million worth of cryptocurrency has been publicly disclosed for ransomware payments since last year. 

 

The mitigation of the cryptocurrency exploitation would affect the business model used by ransomware gangs to extort ransom payments from their targets and launder the money acquired in performing the attacks against different organisations worldwide. 

With the aim to drain the funding of the ransomware gangs, the Counter-Ransomware Initiative wanted to shut down their operations by obstructing their funding channels. 

The authorities said that they acknowledge how the imbalanced global implementation of the standards of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) to virtual assets and its service providers (VASPs) is creating a system that allows jurisdictional arbitrage for the ransomware threat actors looking for platforms in moving illegal funds without being charged to anti-money laundering (AML) and other obligations. 

They also added that they are improving their efforts to disrupt the business model used by the ransomware threat groups and its associated money-laundering acts.  

Regulators, law enforcement, and financial intelligence units are included in supervising, investigating, and regulating the action against disrupting the cryptocurrency exploitation of the ransomware groups. The authorities also said they would seek a partnership with the cryptocurrency industry to improve all ransomware-related data sharing. 

All countries involved in these efforts will be leveraging their financial institutions and infrastructures to stop ransomware gangs’ illicit activities, such as targeting the critical infrastructure of global partners. Additional efforts will also involve the disruption of the ransomware landscape via the collaboration of law enforcers, addressing the headquarters of the ransomware groups, enhancing the attack prevention techniques, and diplomatic arrangements to inspire other countries to address the ransomware operations within their region as well. 

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