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Suex to be you: Feds sanction cryptocurrency exchange for handling payments from 8+ ransomware variants

doublelayer Silver badge

No, it would just put a dent in the cryptocurrency industry. Which isn't really a problem for me, but since you're proposing it with a stated goal you will not get, perhaps not the best argument for it.

Ransomware operators use cryptocurrency for three reasons: it's easy to move large chunks, they can exchange it for actual money more easily, and it can't be taken away from them. For the avoidance of doubt, they don't do it because it's untrackable (it's not), easy for the victims to hide (it's not), or effectively anonymous (it can be but they're not). The most successful ransomware operations have also moved to attacking a smaller number of big targets, looking for payouts in the millions. The result of this is that it's now easier to handle small costs in convenience to receive a ransom. If the ransom is for a personal computer and paid for by an individual, requesting the user take extra steps to get the payment could be so expensive for the user that they won't be paid. If a business is going to pay millions, they can ask for that. If they find themselves miraculously unable to exchange cryptocurrency for something they want, they'll do that.

If you could eliminate cryptocurrency's value entirely, which you can't, ransomware has several other methods to move money. They would be better at ranking the options as I'm sure they've already made plans, but they would include making transfers to international banks and quickly withdrawing money (more complex, easier for victims), physical movement of cash (bulky), and physical movement of something more compact like gold (victim must exchange for it). These aren't simple, but for a payout in the millions, it is worth figuring out how to do it. In addition, as most ransomware operators are insulated from legal consequences by corrupt countries, they can use that to their advantage--receiving the ransom physically in a country where the police want to catch you is risky, but if the police don't care, it's fine.

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