Biden sanctions cryptocurrency exchange over ransomware attacks By Reuters
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Biden administration on Tuesday will unveil sanctions against a cryptocurrency exchange over its alleged role in enabling illegal payments from ransomware attacks, officials said, part of a broader bid to crack down on the growing threat.
Suex OTC and S.R.O. are being accused by the Treasury Department. The Treasury Department accuses Suex OTC, S.R.O. of facilitating transactions that involved illicit proceeds for at most eight ransomware variations. This is the first time it has made such a move against virtual currency exchanges over ransomware activities.
Wally Adeyemo (Treasury Deputy Secretary) said, “Exchanges such as Suex are crucial for attackers’ ability to extract profits form ransomware attackers.” He made the remarks in an interview with reporters to preview the announcement. “Today’s announcement is an indication of our determination to expose these criminal networks and dismantle them.”
Ransomware is used by hackers to disable systems controlling everything, from manufacturing to hospital billing. After receiving large payments in cryptocurrency, they will stop.
According to the Treasury, attacks are becoming more sophisticated, larger, and wider. Ransomware payments in 2020 reached more than $400 million. This is four times higher than the amount paid to hackers in 2019. Anne Neuberger (deputy national security advisor for cyber) spoke on the phone.
Officials stated that the government is updating its guidance regarding sanctions in order to encourage ransomware victims to provide information to law enforcement.
An analysis of Suex transactions revealed that 40% were conducted by illicit actors, according to the Treasury. The agency released that while some exchanges may be exploited and others such as Suex are used to facilitate illegal activities, they also state that other platforms, including Suex’s, can “facilitate illicit activity for their own illicit gain.”
Suex is prohibited from entering the United States and cannot access any U.S. property. The executive order was issued in 2015.
Refinitiv’s Eikon identifies Suex OTC as a Czech private company.
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