Home New FBI crypto crime unit, starting now

New FBI crypto crime unit, starting now

Feb 18 — The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is opening a new unit dedicated to tracking and seizing stolen cryptocurrencies. In addition to protecting the general public, this move represents part of a broader shift in tactics for taking down international crime networks.

According to Deputy Attorney General, Lisa Monaco, the new team will be known as the Virtual Asset Exploitation Unit, which will function as a consultancy agency when it comes to cryptocurrency, blockchain analysis, virtual asset seizure and providing related trainings for the rest of the FBI.

 Cryptocurrency concerns

In recent years, cryptocurrency has surfaced as the primary means through which cyber criminals obtain ill-gotten monetary demands. For example, upon requesting a ransomware payment, cyber criminals commonly insist that financial transactions are made in cryptocurrency; preventing law-enforcement from easily tracing the transaction.

By the end of 2021, as much as $11 billion worth of cryptocurrency holdings worldwide came from illicit sources. Interfering with the economics of cyber crime can help prevent further cyber crimes.

FBI and cyber crime

The FBI’s new unit will work closely with the Justice Department’s National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team, composed of roughly a dozen prosecutors who were brought into the picture towards the tail end of 2021.

The Department of Justice is pursuing additional avenues that will advance cryptocurrency-related cyber crime work, and that will enhance international cyber security partnerships.

Summary

Government agencies around the world are looking for means of stopping cyber crimes before they occur, instead of simply charging perpetrators afterwards, if the responsible parties can indeed be identified.

Officials state that the efforts to halt cyber crime, particularly as they relate to cryptocurrency, may require a cultural shift, and the reallocation of resources.

For more on this story, please visit The Wall Street Journal.