Bitcoin Wallets Linked to Iranian Hackers Are Blocked by US Authorities
The US Treasury added more cryptocurrency addresses to its blacklist. The sanctions targeted suspected Iranian cybercriminals responsible for ransomware attacks.
- US Treasury adds 6 BTC addresses to its blacklist.
- Suspected Iranian cybercriminals were sanctioned.
- The crypto addresses would be linked to ransomware.
The US government is taking a strict approach against bad actors in the cryptocurrency space and is not afraid to expand its list of sanctioned addresses.
The US Treasury Department on Wednesday announced new sanctions for companies and individuals suspected of involvement in cyberattacks led by the Iranian military. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) reported on the sanctions in a releaseAs reported CoinDesk.
The sanctions target ten people and two entities “for their role in carrying out malicious cyber acts, including ransomware activity“, indicates the statement. Also Six addresses were included. Bitcoin belonging to two individuals who would have helped develop and deploy cyberattacks as members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps of Iran (IRGC).
As part of the measures, sanctioned individuals, businesses, and crypto wallets are added to OFAC’s Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) list.
“Ransomware actors and other cybercriminals, regardless of their national origin or base of operations, have targeted businesses and critical infrastructure across the board, directly threatening the physical security and economy of the United States and other nations.”said Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian E. Nelson, adding that the agency will continue “taking action” together with international partners to combat cyber threats.
US Sanctions Iranian Cybercriminals
US authorities accused the group of Iranian military personnel of directing attacks against hundreds of businesses in the United States. Specifically, they referred to the deployment of campaigns ransomware, a type of computer attack based on malicious software that blocks access to data and computer networks. The hackers they often extort money from their victims and demand cryptocurrency ransoms in exchange for returning control of the data.
as picked up CoinDeskthe individuals are part of a hacker group that targeted US hospitals, transportation companies, and schools with ransomwareTreasury officials said in the statement.
That medium adds that the sanctioned addresses did not contain any Bitcoin for the time of sanctions. In accordance with CoinDeskwhich cited on-chain data, the wallets depleted their balances between October last year and May 2022. Many of these addresses have not been active since 2021, the report adds.
The sanctions are part of a broader series of measures by the authorities against malicious actors allegedly linked to the Iranian government. CoinDesk Remember that OFAC has already added several Iranian officials to its black list in recent weeks, also accusing them of committing cyber attacks.
Last week, OFAC added Iran’s Intelligence Minister Esmail Khatib and his Ministry of Intelligence and Security to the SDN list for an alleged attack on Albania; although Iran has denied the accusations.
The US Treasury has been designating more and more digital currency addresses to its list of sanctioned entities. The recent actions come after the huge controversy that arose after said federal agency sanctioned the smart contract addresses that run the decentralized mixer, TornadoCash.