This article will focus on cybercrimes, most of which are financed with the help of cryptocurrencies. Readers will learn about how businesses can increase their cybersecurity to prevent cyber-extortion.

To solve a crime, the old saying is still relevant: “Follow the money.” If we talk about cybercrime, the situation becomes more complicated, because the money itself is anonymous (as in the case of cryptocurrency). In modern realities, it is extremely necessary for enterprises to increase their level of cybersecurity in order to protect themselves.

Silk Road, an anonymous online trading platform on the Darknet, was created more than ten years ago. It was used to buy and sell drugs. Silk Road used the Tor network to protect user privacy, as well as the Bitcoin cryptocurrency and dark wallets to encrypt and disguise transactions. The success of the site and the new type of crimes faced by law enforcement agencies led to the need to take new measures to prevent cybercrime.

Since then, many other markets have appeared on the Darknet, and the value of the cryptocurrency has increased dramatically. In February 2011, when Silk Road was launched, one bitcoin cost less than $1. Ten years later, it reached an unprecedented rate and was already selling for $ 68,000. Despite the fact that since then the bitcoin exchange rate has declined, in June 2022 the value of the currency for 1 unit was just under $ 23,000.

The high exchange rate and anonymity have made cryptocurrency a de facto currency for cybercriminals, and the prevention of cyber extortion has become a priority for law enforcement agencies and businesses.

Cybercriminals use not only Bitcoin to maintain anonymity

It has recently become known how the address binding method can be used to bind bitcoin addresses to unique users. This calls into question the fundamental privacy proposition that Bitcoin has been betting on since the early days of its existence. Advanced cybercriminals have started switching to cryptomonets focused on increased transaction privacy, such as Monero. Several Darknet marketplaces now use it exclusively. Matt Swanson, head of department at Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Cybercrime Center, explained in a recent episode of #TrendTalksBizSec that anonymous cryptomonets can hide any information about the origin of a transaction. This makes it impossible to determine the source and destination addresses of the money transfer. While law enforcement agencies are struggling with untraceable transactions using cryptocurrencies, businesses are constantly facing cyber-extortion. To protect yourself, you need to take special protective measures.