Home Substantial portion US sanctions SUEX cryptocurrency exchange for helping ransomware gangs

US sanctions SUEX cryptocurrency exchange for helping ransomware gangs


The U.S. Treasury Department on Tuesday imposed sanctions on the Russian cryptocurrency exchange Suex for helping to facilitate and launder the transactions of at least eight ransomware variants as part of the government’s efforts to quell an increase in ransomware. ransomware incidents and make it difficult for bad actors to take advantage of them. such attacks using digital currencies.

“Virtual currency exchanges such as SUEX are critical to the profitability of ransomware attacks, which help fund additional cybercriminal activity,” the department said in a press release. “Analysis of known SUEX transactions shows that over 40% of the history of known SUEX transactions is associated with illicit actors. SUEX is appointed under Executive Order 13694, as amended, to provide material support to the threat posed by criminal ransomware actors. “

According to blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis, SUEX is legally registered in the Czech Republic and operates from offices in Moscow and St. Petersburg, with the 25 exchange depository addresses receiving more than $ 481 million in Bitcoin since its entry. active as of February 2018. A substantial portion of these transfers – amounting to nearly $ 162 million – come from ransomware operators such as Ryuk, Conti and Maze, cryptocurrency scam operators, darknet and high risk trading markets.

Cryptocurrency exchange in the United States

The development marks the first example of such action against a virtual currency exchange and follows a wave of devastating ransomware attacks that have increased in frequency and severity, hampering critical infrastructure and many entities in recent months and by posing a threat to economic and national security. In 2020 alone, ransomware payments are said to have totaled more than $ 400 million, more than four times that of 2019, with virtual currencies becoming the primary vehicle for making transfers and associated money laundering activity.

Ransomware refers to malware designed to block access to computer systems, often by encrypting data or programs to extort ransoms from victims in exchange for decrypting and restoring access to their systems or data. This also comes with a threat to publicly disclose the targets’ sensitive files in a technique called double extortion.

“These payments are only a fraction of the economic damage caused by cyber attacks, but they underscore the goals of those seeking to militarize technology for personal gain,” the Treasury Department added.

Corporate password management

Officials also highlighted the role of virtual currencies in furthering illicit activity through trading, mixing and peer-to-peer exchanges, not to mention helping evade sanctions, implement programs. ransomware and other financially motivated cybercrimes, making these technologies ripe for exploitation by bad actors. However, in the case of SUEX, this helped facilitate illegal activities “for their own illicit gain”.

Cryptocurrency exchange in the United States

In addition to freezing all of the designated target’s real estate assets that are subject to US jurisdiction, US citizens are generally prohibited from transacting with sanctioned entities, and financial institutions that engage in certain activities with them could. themselves face sanctions or coercive measures.

Additionally, the United States Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) issued an updated advisory on potential sanction risks resulting from a settlement with ransomware actors, urging victims and related companies not only to to refrain from paying ransoms, but also to “report these incidents to and fully cooperate with law enforcement as soon as possible.”

“Shutting down cryptocurrency-based money launderers is one of the most important strategies to tackle cryptocurrency-related crime,” Chainalysis said. “It all comes down to incentives. If cybercriminals have no way of moving ill-gotten cryptocurrency to services where it can be stored safely or converted to cash, there is much less reason for them to ‘use cryptocurrency in the first place. “


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here