- Suex OTC is a Czech Republic-based private firm.
- Several major US corporations have been targeted by ransomware gangs.
- An agricultural enterprise in Iowa was also targeted by hackers.
Officials said the Biden administration issued sanctions against a cryptocurrency exchange on Tuesday for its suspected role in enabling unlawful ransomware payments, as part of a broader crackdown on the rising threat.
Binance declared the action taken by US treasury a positive development for the industry.
Suex OTC, SRO has been charged by the Treasury Department of enabling transactions containing illicit revenues for at least eight ransomware variants, marking the first time the government has taken action against a virtual currency exchange for ransomware activities.
Ransomware is a type of malware that is used by hackers to shut down systems that manage anything from healthcare bills to manufacturing.
They only quit after receiving large sums of money, usually in cryptocurrencies. In large-scale hacks this year, ransomware gangs have targeted a number of significant US corporations.
On the US East Coast, one such attack on pipeline operator Colonial Pipeline resulted in temporary petroleum supply problems.
Hackers allegedly attacked an Iowa-based agricultural enterprise, raising concerns about grain harvesting in the Midwest being disrupted.
Eamon Javers, Seinor Corespondent CNBC wrote in a tweet that:
Chainalysis posts this photo of alleged Suex employees at elevator bank at reported Suex office location at 12 Federation East Tower, Moscow City, Moscow and photo reportedly taken within the Suex office suite.
Ransomware payments in 2020 exceeded $400 million (approximately Rs. 2,950 crores), more than four times the level in 2019, according to Anne Neuberger, deputy national security adviser for cyber.
The threat has become so widespread that US Vice President Joe Biden reportedly urged Russian President Vladimir Putin at a July meeting that ransomware gangs should not be allowed to target “critical infrastructure” companies.
According to cybersecurity specialists and federal prosecutors, such groups frequently operate out of Russia or Ukraine.
On the call, administration officials stated that the administration is modifying sanctions guidelines to encourage victims of ransomware attacks to provide information with law enforcement.
According to the Treasury, almost 40% of known Suex transactions involved criminal actors, according to an examination.
While certain exchanges are targeted by criminals, others, such as Suex, “facilitate illicit activities for their own illicit gain,” according to the agency.
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