Ransomware and proxy warfare – For their own account or for that of States wishing to remain “discreet”, web hackers are acting with increasing force in the four corners of the planet. And their preferred modus operandi is the famous ransomware – or ransomware in good French. In order to fight against this new form of organized crime, and sometimes even terrorism 3.0, theUS administration decided to hit the wallet by blocking accounts bankingbut also addresses Bitcoin. It was known that some malicious hacker groups were in the pay of Russian pharmacies. L’OFAC reveals today that theIran would also be behind some of them. Geopolitics and cryptocurrency, decryption to follow.
US Administration Blacklist Adds Bitcoin Addresses
the Treasury Department American is an all-powerful body responsible for collecting taxes and enacting economic policies. But he must also ensure that the laws in force are respected by the financial authorities. To fulfill this mission, there is in particular theForeign Assets Control Office (OFAC) which deals with “extranational affairs”. This body publishes and updates a ” special list of nationals » (SDN). These are prohibited from any economic exchange with United States.
And, on September 14, OFAC announced that it had added ten people and two companies linked to the Islamic Revolutionary Guards in Iran. By placing these individuals and their business entities on this “blacklist,” the United States intends to economically affect these organizations and prevent them from doing harm. This procedure was already well known to observers. On the other hand, what is new is the presence ofbitcoin addresses next to the names of the defendants. This is to allow exchanges to trace possible transfers and to block if applicable.
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Ransomware and Revolutionary Guard in the crosshairs
And if the government fights with such vigor these pirate modern times is that their activities harm greatly to the American administration. Indeed, the Treasury Department estimates about 590 million dollars the amount of ransoms paid in 2021. But this is only a ” fraction of the economic damage caused by malicious cyber activities”. These ransomware involved schools, government offices, children’s hospitals and emergency services. But also transport, energy and food companies, all highly strategic sectors. The State of New Jersey even offers a reward $10 million to help him find the people involved in an attack on his services!
As a reminder, the ransomware is a remote blocking of all or part of an IT service. “Unblocking” only occurs when payment of the demanded ransom. And the United States decided to take the bull by the horns to put an end to these attacks. This is why they mobilized the Department of Justice and the Department of State (foreign affairs). But also the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the National Security Agency (NSA) and all the services in the fight against cybercrime.
The cryptocurrency and its most illustrious representative Bitcoin find themselves once again linked to stories of ransoms, terrorism and hidden funding. Certainly it is possible that criminals use it, but we now know that these transfers are traceable and less anonymous than other monetary exchange systems. The proof, some thieves of crypto have been recently stopped by the European authorities.
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