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What to do when you fall victim to a crypto scam

Criminals go where the money is, so it’s no surprise that with the rise of bitcoin and other virtual assets, crypto scams are on the rise too. And because crypto is so new to so many users, it may be even more difficult for people to identify and avoid potential fraud. This dynamic resulted in reported…

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Ransomware Seizure: Blockchain Analysis Helps US Authorities Seize Over $2 Million in DarkSide Ransom Paid by Colonial Pipeline

Colonial Pipeline Ransomware Recovery On June 7, 2021, the US Department of Justice announced that they had seized 63.69 BTC of the 75 BTC ransom Colonial Pipeline had paid to DarkSide. This ransom recovery is the first undertaken by the recently created DOJ Ransomware and Digital Extortion Task Force. While the FBI was able to…

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SANCTIONS ALERT: Russian Crypto-Related Designations for US Election Interference

SANCTIONS UPDATE: On April 15, 2021, the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned 16 individuals and 16 entities for attempting to undermine and influence the 2020 US presidential election. The sanctions list includes Russian officials, proxies, and intelligence agencies linked to the Internet Research Agency (IRA)—a Russian “troll farm”…

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$220M in Bitcoin May Be Encrypted Forever on IronKey

Stefan Thomas is two failed password attempts away from losing the private keys to $220 million worth of bitcoin forever. This is because Thomas holds the private keys to his bitcoin wallet in an IronKey. “The World’s Most Secure Flash Drive” would rather die than give up its secrets, thanks to a series of built-in…

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ALERT: Malicious Crypto Browser Extension—Masked MetaMask

UPDATE: 12/03/2020 The MetaMask phisher continues to buy sponsored ads on MetaMask search results. The company urges users to “use direct links, and if you need to use search, watch out for sponsored links!” Sponsored ads for the fraudulent maskmeha[.]io seem to have been displaced by meramaks[.]io 12/02/2020 Within the past 24 hours, CipherTrace has…

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FinCEN’s Proposed Rule Change for Travel Rule Threshold Would More Than Double Compliance Events at US VASPs

This blog is an excerpt from the upcoming CipherTrace 2020 Cryptocurrency Crime and Anti-Money Laundering Report In October 2020 FinCEN released a proposed rule change, lowering the threshold for travel rule information sharing and retention from $3,000 to $250 for all cross-border payments involving US financial institutions The proposed new rule will definitely apply to…

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Half of 2020 Crypto Hacks are from DeFi Protocols and Exchanges

This blog is an excerpt from the upcoming CipherTrace 2020 Cryptocurrency Crime and Anti-Money Laundering Report In first half of 2020 DeFi took up 45% of all thefts and hacks ($51.5M or 40% of hacked volume). In second half of 2020 DeFi took up 50% of all thefts and hacks ($47.7M or 14% of hacked… Read more

Nearly $1B from Silk Road Move for First Time Since 2015

UPDATE: According to a November 5 US Department of Justice complaint, the 69000+ BTC (and the BCH, BSV, and BTG equivalents) that were moved earlier this week were in fact seized by the US DOJ. The complaint adds that the individual that moved the funds (Individual X) was able to hack into Silk Road back…

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Record Number of Dark Markets Online as Demand for Illicit Goods and Services Continues to Grow

The criminal environment of darknet markets is extremely turbulent. Numerous darknet markets are launched every year and just as many are constantly exiting, being seized, or otherwise going defunct. Despite this barrage, CipherTrace has noted more dark markets online than ever before. CipherTrace researchers are currently monitoring over 35 active darknet markets. The newest darknet…

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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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