An international coalition called the Working Group against Ransomware , RTF for its acronym in English, published a document on Thursday, April 29, with 48 recommendations to counter data hijacking on a global scale. The body asked, as a priority measure, to regulate all bitcoin and cryptocurrency markets in general.
The guidelines were discussed for months by 60 experts in information security, governments, public organizations, private companies and civil society. The goal of the report called “Fighting Ransomware ” is to establish a unified and “aggressive” campaign against hackers .
The RTF considers that, within all the suggestions made, there are some that should be accelerated as soon as possible to prevent this crime from continuing to increase . In relation to exchanges and platforms for the exchange of cryptocurrencies, the body indicated:
“The cryptocurrency sector that allows ransomware crimes should be more regulated. Governments should require exchanges, kiosks (BATM), and over the counter (OTC) trading ‘tables’ to comply with existing laws, including Know Your Customer (KYC), Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Anti-Money Laundering. the Financing of Terrorism (CFT) ».
Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Tracking Against Ransomware
The researchers also targeted cryptocurrency mixers as a tool used by criminals “to hide the identity of the owners” of crypto assets. In other words, the report explains that criminals “muddy” the network’s accounting by mixing legitimate traffic with illicit funds obtained by hijacking information.
The use of private currencies like Monero was also mentioned in the report. However, according to analysts, these have not been as widely adopted as bitcoin for ransomware payments , for example, because “they are not as liquid.”
One striking aspect of the document is that it generalizes by saying that cryptocurrencies are difficult to track . However, it also talks about the fact that there are blockchain analysis services that serve to understand which entities are conducting transactions with each other.
Another of the analysts’ concerns is that cryptocurrencies are considered “borderless.” According to the report, it has been the community itself that has built a set of technologies that reduce compliance costs and the transfer of funds.
The decentralized nature of cryptocurrencies was also questioned by the authors of the report. According to the research, reducing the threat from hijackers goes through increased global cooperation due to this particular aspect of digital assets. The foregoing is deduced since the regulators would be more adapted to the audits of centralized entities.
Ransomware as a computer crime
The ransomware or data hijacking was one of the biggest computer crimes during 2020 , as recently reported to CriptoNoticias, Pamela Clegg, director of research and training firm blockchain analysis, CipherTrace.
In these cases, hackers enter companies’ systems. Subsequently, they encrypt as much data as possible and then demand a ransom to decrypt it , that is, if the victim pays the required amount, the criminals “release” the hijacked information.
The RFT was formed in January 2019 by the Institute of Security and Technology (IST). Its guidelines are suggestions for governments and it is made up of companies and federal agencies of the United States. Some are: Chainalysis, CipherTrace, Amazon Web Services, Microsoft, the FBI, and the Secret Service.