An international coalition called the Working Group against Ransomware , RTF for its acronym in English, published this Thursday, April 29, a document 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 computer security, governments, public bodies, companies private 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 the crimes of ransomware it 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. Terrorism Financing (CFT) ».
Tracking of bitcoin and cryptocurrencies 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 accounting of the network 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 payments for ransomware , for example, because “they are not as liquid”.
One aspect that draws the attention of the document is that generalizes by saying that cryptocurrencies are difficult to track . However, it also talks about the existence of blockchain analysis services that serve to understand which entities are conducting transactions with each other.
Another concern of analysts 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 authors of the report. According to the research, reducing the threat of 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 investigations and training of the blockchain analysis firm, CipherTrace.
In these cases the hackers enter the companies’ systems. Subsequently, encrypt as much data as possible and then ask for a ransom to decrypt it , that is, if the victim pays the required amount, the criminals “release” the seized 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.