Treasury sanctions cryptocurrency exchange over ransomware transactions
The Department of the Treasury announced Tuesday it will sanction cryptocurrency exchange SUEX for allegedly facilitating financial transactions for multiple ransomware actors.
Why it matters: The sanctions, the first against a cryptocurrency exchange platform, are part of the Biden administration's crackdown on ransomware in response to several high-profile cyberattacks this year.
- Digital currency exchanges allow people to trade cryptocurrencies or digital currencies for other assets.
- The sanctions announced Tuesday will make it harder for SUEX to do business with U.S. entities.
By the numbers: The Treasury said that over 40% of SUEX’s known transactions have been associated with illicit actors, though it stressed that most virtual currency activity is legal.
- It said SUEX facilitated transactions involving illicit proceeds from at least eight different types of ransomware.
What they're saying: "Virtual currency exchanges such as SUEX are critical to the profitability of ransomware attacks, which help fund additional cybercriminal activity," the Treasury said.
- "Ransomware attacks are increasing in scale, sophistication, and frequency, victimizing governments, individuals, and private companies around the world."
The big picture: Ransomware payments in 2020 reached over $400 million, more than four times their level in 2019, according to the department.
Go deeper: DOJ to treat ransomware attacks with similar priority as terrorism