Researchers say 74%, or more than $400 million, in payments in cryptocurrencies went to hacking groups with Russian connections, including large amounts of cryptocurrency money laundering.
Based on research by blockchain analyst Chainalysis, the company was able to track money to and from the digital wallets of notorious hacking groups via public blockchain transaction records.
The researchers were able to determine which groups of hackers are Russian due to various unique features:
- Their ransomware code is written to prevent it from damaging files if it detects the victim’s computers are in Russia or a CIS country
- The group operates in Russian on Russian-speaking forums
- The group has links to Evil Corp – a suspected cyber crime gang wanted by the U.S.
The research adds more evidence to the belief that many cyber-criminal groups are active either in Russia or in its adjacent Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) – an intergovernmental organization of former Soviet states.
In addition, the report stressed that 9.9% of all known ransomware revenue went to Evil Corp – an alleged cybercriminal gang that is now being hunted by the U.S. authorities but allegedly operates with impunity in Russia.
A BBC investigation last November revealed that Igor Turashev, one of the alleged leaders of Evil Corp, runs various businesses from Moscow City’s Federation Tower – one of the Russian capital’s most elite locations.
Chainalysis claims that a number of cryptocurrency companies based in the tower were used by hacking groups to launder illegal funds and turn cryptocurrencies from digital wallets to actual cash.
Russia has consistently denied claims that it is harboring cybercriminals.
For more information, read the original story on the BBC.