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Crypto Red Flags for Law Enforcement—How to know if your investigation involves cryptocurrency

According to the US Department of Treasury, since 2013 there has been a consistent decrease in reported bulk cash seizures by agencies throughout the United States. This could be indicative of increased cryptocurrency use by criminals in favor of cash. The lack of cash seizure for known cash intensive activities should be an automatic red flag for…

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FinCEN, OFAC Warn VASPs of Potential Sanctions Violations for Allowing Customers to Pay Ransomware

As the severity and sophistication of ransomware attacks continue to rise across various sectors around the world, the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence issued two advisories to assist US individuals and businesses in efforts to combat ransomware scams and attacks.  VASPs Face Sanctions Violation Risks for Facilitating Ransomware Payments  The US Department of the Treasury’s… Read more

FinCEN Doubles Down on Banks’ Crypto Exposure

Taking center stage in a key-note address at the virtual 2020 ACAMS Las Vegas Conference, FinCEN Director Kenneth A. Blanco clarified a long-standing confusion banks have had regarding their exposure to cryptocurrencies and the steps they must take the mitigate these risks.  Director Blanco said that FinCEN continues to focus its efforts on a number…

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SANCTIONS ALERT: More Russian Crypto-Related Designations

SANCTIONS UPDATE: On September 16, 2020, two Russian nationals were added to OFAC’s SDN List for their involvement in a sophisticated phishing campaign that targeted customers of two US-based and one foreign-based virtual asset service providers (VASPs) in 2017 and 2018 . This attack resulted in combined losses of at least $16.8 million. The designation…

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FATF Releases Virtual Assets Red Flag Indicators of Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing 

On Monday, September 14, 2020, FATF released a report on Virtual Assets Red Flag Indicators. This report is meant to assist reporting entities, including financial institutions (FIs), designated non-financial businesses and professions (DNFBPs), and VASPs. The red flag indicators are an excellent start and are mostly focused on indicators of money laundering for VASPs.  The… Read more

SANCTIONS ALERT: New Russian Crypto-Related Designations

SANCTIONS UPDATE: On September 10, 2020, four individuals were added to OFAC’s SDN List for attempting to influence the US electoral process. Three of the designated individuals were linked to supporting the cryptocurrency accounts of the Internet Research Agency (IRA)—a Russian “troll farm” tied to influence operations abroad on behalf of Russian political interests. According…

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Best Practices for Monitoring Virtual Currency-Related Transactions at Your Bank

Existing FinCEN regulations clearly state that it is the responsibility of all financial institutions to identify and report suspicious activity concerning how criminals and other bad actors exploit CVCs for money laundering, sanctions evasion, and other illicit financing purposes. These requirements apply to all financial institutions, even if those financial institutions do not directly buy,… Read more

Tracing Ransomware: CipherTrace Helps McAfee Follow NetWalker Funds 

On August 3, cybersecurity firm McAfee released new researching showing the activities of NetWalker—ransomware that has collected more than 2,795 bitcoin by operating a ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS) model. Using CipherTrace Inspector, McAfee was able to trace through NetWalker ransomware transactions to follow the coins and uncover intelligence on the revenue-sharing scheme that helped proliferate the malware to make it as profitable as possible.  A contributing factor to NetWalker’s success was the utilization… Read more

Twitter Hackers Arrested—Blockchain Analysis Traces the Bitcoin to Teenage Hackers

UPDATED 7/31 Three Charged for Role in Twitter Hack On July 31, three individuals were charged for their alleged roles in the July 15 Twitter hack— Mason Sheppard, aka “Chaewon,” 19, from the United Kingdom; Nima Fazeli, aka “Rolex,” 22, from Florida; and a juvenile whose identity is sealed. According to San Francisco FBI Special…

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Twitter Hacked—Insiders Compromise Social Media Giant

On July 15, Twitter accounts for multiple high-profile cryptocurrency exchanges, public figures, and various entities were taken over by hackers promoting a Bitcoin Doubler scam. Shortly after 12pm PST, the Twitter accounts for AngeloBTC, Binance, Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao, CoinDesk, Coinbase, Gemini, Kucoin, and Tron Founder Justin Sun were taken over by most likely the… Read more
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