The US Treasury Department has begun imposing sanctions on cryptocurrency exchanges that engage in shady transactions. These sanctions fall in line with an initial WSJ rumour about a long-planned order from the Biden administration to slap certain cryptocurrency exchanges with some restrictions, over their alleged involvement with ransomware hackers.
One Digital Assets Exchange (DAX) in particular, SUEX, found itself imposed with said sanctions after the US financial body determined that it had facilitated the ransomware attacks, when it helped the threat actors launder their seedy gains from no less than eight events. For that matter, more than 40% of SUEX’s transactions reportedly stem from such activities. To put it simply: SUEX knew who these transactions belonged to and still went ahead and processed them anyway.
The US Treasury has made it clear that while it will target DAX that actively engage in illicit transactions, it also acknowledges that the majority of cryptocurrency exchanges do operate above the line and that some simply and unknowingly fall victim to some ransomware hackers.
Ransomware attacks have clearly become one of the most lucrative money-making activities for threat actors, with payouts totalling in the millions, should the victims of said actors choose to pay. To date, companies such as Acer, Gigabyte, and more recently, Exabytes, were victims of ransomware attacks, with the former being asked to pay US$50 million (~RM209 million) for the release of its files.