While the overall number of crimes involving cryptocurrencies (virtual assets) has decreased this year, ransomware (programs that demand money in exchange for data recovery) attacks have increased.
Alec Zebric, General Manager of Investigations for Asia-Pacific at Chainalysis, presented the trends in cryptocurrency crime at the "The Future of a Healthy Cryptocurrency Industry: Compliance and Public-Private Partnerships" forum at the Courtyard Marriott Hotel in Jung-gu, Seoul, on Tuesday.
"So far this year, the volume of scams and hacking crimes has decreased by 45.2 percent and 23.5 percent year-on-year, respectively," said Mr. Zibrik, adding that ransomware attacks alone have increased by 10.3 percent. Ransomware attacks have cost more than $180 million ($23.87 billion) in damages, according to Chinalysis.
Zebrick cited two reasons for the increase in ransomware attacks this year. The first is an increase in attacks against large organizations. "We've seen an increase in ransomware attacks targeting large, well-funded organizations," he said, explaining that "both small and large ransom payments are on the rise."
The second is the war in Russia and Ukraine. "Last year, geopolitical conflicts slowed the activity of Russia-based ransomware actors," said Zibrick. "This year, ransomware is back at record levels, so it's important for organizations to strengthen their cyber defenses and prepare for proper data backup recovery."
Chinalysis is a blockchain data platform that works with governments, financial institutions, and exchanges in more than 70 countries. A former U.S. detective, Mr. Zibrik is responsible for analyzing blockchain-related crimes in Asia and the Pacific and overseeing the response of law enforcement agencies in each country. He is a security expert who has worked as a cybersecurity engineer at Hyundai Motor Group.
The second speaker was Jarek Jakubcek, Head of Law Enforcement Training at Binance, who previously worked as an analyst for the Irish Police and the European Criminal Police Organization.
"Last year, we received 47,000 requests from law enforcement agencies around the world," said Jakubcek, who emphasized that Binance is the largest exchange in the world and provides valuable information to law enforcement.
"Since 2021, Binance has mandated KYC for all users, and we are also quick to freeze funds from criminal activity when ordered by a court," he added.
"We've held more than 70 training programs this year alone to work with law enforcement authorities," said Yarek Yakubak, Head of Operations, "and we'll continue to strengthen our cooperation with law enforcement."
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