Bitcoin, despite its growing mainstream popularity, is a favourite tool of cyber criminals, with one ransomware variant, known as Ryuk, thought to have stolen $61 million since it was created in 2018, according to the FBI.
Ransomware hackers, who encrypt their victims' files before demanding bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies to unlock them, began increasingly targeting hospitals and healthcare providers during the coronavirus pandemic, Interpol reported in April, with criminals taking advantage of an influx of remote workers.
Now, researchers who say they are concerned by this trend have compiled information that could be damaging to Binance, one of the largest bitcoin exchanges in the worldsuggesting the exchange is failing to prevent Ryuk hackers from turning the stolen bitcoin into cash.
Binance, now the world's largest bitcoin and cryptocurrency exchange by volume, was created by ... [+] Changpeng Zhao in 2017.
Researchers found that bitcoin worth over $1 million from several addresses connected to Ryuk ransomware attacks made its way to a wallet on the Binance exchange over the last three years, with the wallet still active as of this month.
"Out of the 63 sampled transactions worth around $5,700,000, it was found that over $1 million was sent from the hacking team wallets to the Binance exchange platform to cash out their ransom payments," the researchers, who asked to remain anonymous, wrote in a document seen by this reporter and shared with Binance.
"Thirteen other bitcoin addresses associated with Ryuk, containing a total of $1,064,865, followed a similar pattern. All were sent from the hackers wallets to several other addresses, and eventually to Binance, enabling them to cash out their ransom payments."
The remaining $4.7 million worth of bitcoin traced by the researchers is currently still being held at various off-exchange addresses, suggesting Binance is the cyber criminals' exchange of choice.
Asked about the report's findings, the Binance security team said that "fighting money laundering, ransomware, and other malicious activities is a never-ending endeavor at Binance."
"It is our top priority to ensure the safety of our customers and the integrity of the broader crypto space," Binance said, pointing to a number of "security features" and "engineering techniques" it uses to identify illicit activities, including "detection algorithms to flag potentially malicious activities."
"Unfortunately, when it comes to tracking illicit activity on-chain, attribution is not always black and white," Binance added, explaining "the recipient may be completely unaware of the fraudulent source of the transaction" and the exchange "has a wide variety of customers operating on its platform."
Binance chief executive, Changpeng Zhao, often known simply as CZ, has previously said the exchange relies on mixture of in-house "blockchain analysis" and social media reports to prevent hackers and cyber criminals using its services.
Cracking down on unlawful use of bitcoin exchanges is "truely a tough balance," one widely-respected blockchain industry expert said via Telegram, prefering to speak anonymously.
"If you clamp down with policies and procedures in order to try to slow these bad actors, it negatively affects all the innocent users. [There's] no easy answer."
Binance's own analysis of the fund flows found the Singapore-based bitcoin and cryptocurrency exchange Huobi received around 400 bitcoin indirectly sourced from a combination of ransomware campaigns with the now defunct exchange BX Thailand also receiving some 140 bitcoin from the Ryuk ransomware.
Meanwhile, Binance this month helped Ukraine authorities take down a group of criminals involved in a global $42 million ransomware and money laundering operation.
The rest is here:
- Bitcoin miners and oil and gas execs mingled at a secretive meetup in Houston here's what they talked about - CNBC - September 5th, 2021
- Is Bitcoin Losing Its Position As The Crypto Market's Leader? - Forbes - September 5th, 2021
- Bitcoin Trades Above $50000 as Cryptos Gain Steam. What's Behind the Rally. - Barron's - September 5th, 2021
- As Global Inflation Heats Up, Bitcoin Saves The Day - Bitcoin Magazine - September 5th, 2021
- Why Bitcoin-Related And Ethereum-Related Stocks Are Rising - Yahoo Finance - September 5th, 2021
- The IRS Goes Undercover As A Bitcoin Trader In $180,000 Sting - Forbes - September 5th, 2021
- Will PayPals adoption of bitcoin make cryptocurrency more mainstream? - New Scientist News - September 5th, 2021
- Bitcoin May Hit $100,000-Mark By End Of 2021 With Current Bull Run: Experts - NDTV Profit - September 5th, 2021
- Twitter reportedly working on Bitcoin tipping feature - Cointelegraph - September 5th, 2021
- The Transition Between Fiat And Bitcoin - Bitcoin Magazine - September 5th, 2021
- Vitalik Buterin Has Suggestions for Dogecoin and Doge's Cooperation With Ethereum Altcoins Bitcoin News - Bitcoin News - September 5th, 2021
- Mastermind of Zimbabwean Bitcoin Pyramid Scheme Vanishes With $6 Million Regulation Bitcoin News - Bitcoin News - September 5th, 2021
- From $250 Billion to $2.35 Trillion: A Look at the Top Ten Crypto Market Cap Shifts Over 2 Years Markets and Prices Bitcoin News - Bitcoin News - September 5th, 2021
- Yes, bitcoin could be the new GameStop - CNBC - February 1st, 2021
- Silver Is the New GameStop as Musk's #Bitcoin Stalls - CoinDesk - CoinDesk - February 1st, 2021
- Behind the Bitcoin Bubble - The Wall Street Journal - February 1st, 2021
- This investor in both gold and bitcoin says only one offers real long-term safety - MarketWatch - February 1st, 2021
- Bitcoin White Paper - Miami - City of Miami - February 1st, 2021
- Bitcoin and Inflation: Everything You Need to Know - CoinDesk - CoinDesk - February 1st, 2021
- What the crypto bill means for bitcoin investors - Mint - February 1st, 2021
- r/WallStreetBets Shows Bitcoin's In The Game - Bitcoin Magazine - February 1st, 2021
- Elon Musk talks Mars, monkey brain implants and Bitcoin in Clubhouse interview - CNET - February 1st, 2021
- Laying out the biggest risks of investing in bitcoin in 2021 - KTAR.com - February 1st, 2021
- Bitcoin miners raked in more than $1 billion in revenue last month - TechRadar - February 1st, 2021
- Bitcoin Rally Attracts Wave Of Private Investment As Leading Blockchain VC Raises New $120 Million Fund - Forbes - December 26th, 2020
- Bitcoins Rally Has Already Outlasted 2017s Epic Run - The Wall Street Journal - December 26th, 2020
- Here's Why I Won't Buy Bitcoin, and You Shouldn't, Either - Motley Fool - December 26th, 2020
- The price of bitcoin is 'driven by manipulation': Nouriel Roubini - Yahoo Finance - December 26th, 2020
- Bitcoin To 27K Projection? - Yahoo Finance - December 26th, 2020
- Bitcoin And Crypto Trading Tips From Poker World Champion Annie Duke - Forbes - December 26th, 2020
- Mark Zuckerberg has another answer to Bitcoin - The Japan Times - December 26th, 2020
- An Unknown User Incurs More Than $80,000 in Transaction Fees When Sending BTC Worth $1 | Blockchain - Bitcoin News - December 26th, 2020
- Tokenized Bitcoin on Ethereum Now Tops $1.1 B: Here's Why - CoinDesk - Coindesk - September 25th, 2020
- 3 reasons why traders turned bullish after Bitcoin price surged to $10.7K - Cointelegraph - September 25th, 2020
- First Mover: Bitcoins Hit Exchanges as Bloomberg Touts Crypto and DeFi Hedge Fund Seeks $50M - CoinDesk - September 25th, 2020
- BitGo Is Bringing DeFi-Friendly Wrapped Bitcoin to the Tron Blockchain - CoinDesk - Coindesk - September 25th, 2020
- Keiser Insists 'Bitcoin Inversely Correlated To USD Not Stock Markets' After Crypto Market Tumble | Markets and Prices - Bitcoin News - September 25th, 2020
- Profit taking Bitcoin miners wont stop the next bull run: On-chain analyst - Cointelegraph - September 25th, 2020
- The Winklevosses have launched their bitcoin exchange in the UK - Wired.co.uk - September 25th, 2020
- Christies to sell its first non-fungible-token as part of epic Bitcoin artwork - Cointelegraph - September 25th, 2020
- Bitcoin-related ads are now streaming on Disney+ in some regions thanks to Zebpay - Cointelegraph - September 25th, 2020
- Cryptocurrency ETF by Nasdaq and Hashdex Approved to List on Bermuda Stock Exchange | Regulation - Bitcoin News - September 25th, 2020
- XSwap Started Yield Farming, The Highest APY Reaches 70,000% | Press release - Bitcoin News - September 25th, 2020
- Bitcoin sentiment at record lows Does it mean the price will go up? - Cointelegraph - September 18th, 2020
- Its a bull trap! 3 key metrics forecast Bitcoin price rejection at $11K - Cointelegraph - September 18th, 2020
- Bit Digital, Inc. Announced Officially to Cooperate with the World's Leading Bitcoin Colocation Partner In US - PRNewswire - September 18th, 2020
- How Bitcoin Correlations Drive the Narrative - CoinDesk - CoinDesk - September 18th, 2020
- Bitcoin hardware devices need to improve to handle complex transactions - Cointelegraph - September 18th, 2020
- First Mover: Bitcoin Investors the Sane Ones as Federal Reserve Cheers Inflation, Price Nears $11K - CoinDesk - CoinDesk - September 18th, 2020
- Why We Get Obsessed With Bitcoin - Decrypt - September 18th, 2020
- Tevoro.com Announces New Book Revealing What's Missing from Bitcoin, Ethereum and Other Cryptocurrencies - PRNewswire - September 18th, 2020
- Bank of England talks negative interest rates in best ad for Bitcoin - Cointelegraph - September 18th, 2020
- Fed, oil and record hash rate: 5 things to know in Bitcoin this week - Cointelegraph - September 18th, 2020
- Glen Oaks Escrow Announces It Assisted With Yet Another Bitcoin Transaction - PRNewswire - September 18th, 2020
- India's Crypto Bill Omitted From Parliament Agenda While New Ban Report Appears - Bitcoin News - September 18th, 2020
- First Mover: As Bitcoin Falls for Second Day, Long-Term Holders Probably Won't Care - CoinDesk - CoinDesk - September 5th, 2020
- Can You Have Your Bitcoin And Eat It Too? - Forbes - September 5th, 2020
- If Bitcoin Crashes Below $10,000 Its All OverHeres Why - Forbes - September 5th, 2020
- A Radical New Crypto Just Blew Past The Bitcoin Price All-Time HighUp A Shocking 3,500% In Just One Month - Forbes - September 5th, 2020
- First Mover: Buying Bitcoin's Dip, Betting Against Tether and Weighing the Jobs Report - CoinDesk - CoinDesk - September 5th, 2020
- Private Capital And Institutions Are Piling Into Bitcoin And Other Digital Assets But You Need To Know Where To Look - Forbes - September 5th, 2020
- Ethereum Soars 10% Overnight Implications For Bitcoin - Forbes - September 5th, 2020
- Bitcoin Down Almost 10% Today, You'll Be Surprised to Hear What's Next - FX Empire - September 5th, 2020
- So Far, a Nice Rise But Not a Wild Runup for Bitcoin Since the May Halving Event - Digital Transactions - September 5th, 2020
- Bitcoin Will Be Accepted for Tax Payments in Swiss Canton Zug Next Year | Taxes - Bitcoin News - September 5th, 2020
- The History of Bitcoin - WTOP - September 5th, 2020
- Wasabi Wallet Patches Flaw That Could Have Thwarted Bitcoin Privacy Feature - CoinDesk - Coindesk - September 5th, 2020
- Why Fusion's DCRM is The Best Option for DeFi Users | Sponsored Bitcoin News - Bitcoin News - September 5th, 2020
- Bitcoin Will Break Out This Year, Says Devere CEO | News - Bitcoin News - September 5th, 2020
- Tax Implications For Donations Of Bitcoin - Forbes - September 5th, 2020
- Protection Over Profit: What Early Mining Patterns Suggest About Bitcoins Inventor - CoinDesk - CoinDesk - September 5th, 2020
- Research: New Malware Employs Tor and Bittorrent To Steal Bitcoin and Ether | Security - Bitcoin News - September 5th, 2020
- Will Bitcoin Dump If Stocks Have Another COVID-19-Scale Crash? - Forbes - September 5th, 2020
- Elon Musk Confirms Serious Russian Bitcoin Ransomware Attack On Tesla, Foiled By The FBI - Forbes - September 5th, 2020
- 3rd Bitcoin SV Hackathon Finalists announced to compete for USD $100,000 - PRNewswire - September 5th, 2020
- Max Keiser thinks Warren Buffett will move to Bitcoin soon - Cointelegraph - September 5th, 2020
- Major Swiss Insurer Adds Bitcoin and Ether Payments | News - Bitcoin News - September 5th, 2020
- Warren Buffett Shifts Funds From US Amid Inflation Fears, Bitcoin's New All-Time High Expected | News - Bitcoin News - September 5th, 2020
- No interim injunction over bitcoin account where damages would be adequate - Lexology - September 5th, 2020
- Venezuela's Bitcoin Use Soars Amid Hyperinflation: 3rd on Global Crypto Adoption Index | News - Bitcoin News - September 5th, 2020