The US Announced Sanctions Against International Hackers Responsible for Global Crypto Scams


September 17, 2020 9:51 am

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The United States has taken actions against two Russians and two Malaysians international hackers, who are responsible for the theft of millions of dollars in cryptocurrency scams.

The U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and the U.S. The Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control announced on September 16, that it has imposed penalties on two Russian nationals who used a sophistication phishing operations to steal over $16.8 million from the customers of three virtual currency exchanges in 2017 and 2018 including two based in the United States.

The scammers, Danil Potekhin and Dmitrii Karasavidi created multiple websites representing recognised crypto exchanges to steal the login information for innocent victims, before using accounts verified with stolen identities to move the crypto assets through various intermediaries and execute pump and dump schemes targeting altcoins with low market capitalization.

“The individuals who administered this scheme defrauded American citizens, businesses, and others by deceiving them and stealing virtual currency from their accounts. The Treasury Department will continue to use our authorities to target cyber criminals and remains committed to the safe and secure use of emerging technologies in the financial sector.”

Steven Mnuchin, Secretary of the Treasury.

The U.S. Department of Justice announced on the same day that two hackers had been arrested in Malaysia in connection with computer hacking attacks that targeted more than 100 companies, universities, governments, and non-profit organizations internationally.

The pair are each facing charges carrying up to 77 years in prison. Five Chinese nationals are still at large, including one individual who has claimed ties to China’s Ministry of State Security. The group entered computing infrastructure to steal source code and other proprietary business information, customer account data, and to launch ransomware and crypto-jacking schemes.

The charges targeting the Malaysian hackers was unsealed last month, while accusations for the Chinese hackers were unsealed in August 2019 and August 2020.

“Today’s announcement demonstrates the ramifications faced by the hackers in China but it is also a reminder to those who continue to deploy malicious cyber tactics that we will utilize every tool we have to administer justice.”

– David Bowdich, deputy director of the FBI
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