The Secret Service seized crypto of over $100 million in digital currency since 2015 in an attempt to crack down on illicit crypto transactions. David Smith of the Secret Service said in an interview that his department has been tracking the Bitcoin and other digital currency flow on the blockchain to safeguard and fight against illicit activities.
Secret Service Seized Crypto To Stop Illicit Activity
USSS assistant director of investigations David Smith said in an interview that the immutable and transparent dimension of blockchain ledgers implies investigators can trace transactions more conveniently in comparison to fiat in some scenarios. Smith said,
“One of the guiding principles of the blockchain is that it is a public ledger that’s shared and everyone with a little bit of computing power has to access to it, including law enforcement.”
“When you follow a digital currency wallet, it’s no different than an email address that has some correlating identifiers.”
He further added that,
“And once a person and another person make a transaction, and that gets into the blockchain, we have the ability to follow that email address or wallet address, if you will, and trace it through the blockchain.”
As per reports on 20.04.2022, citing data from the agency, the Secret Service seized crypto funds worth $102 million in more than 250 cases in the last seven years. The Secret Service told that they went after a Russian cyber crime organization that employed a crypto exchange to launder crypto funds, and the agency also stopped a ransomware operation related to North Korean and Russian criminals.
In another statement, the spokesperson of the Secret Service confirmed the above mentioned report, adding that the information was offered during the course of the interview. The spokesperson further said that the agency will prevail as new cyber threats evolve. He said,
“Investments and transactions using cryptocurrencies and digital assets are not inherently criminal, however, they do provide a new opportunity for those seeking to do harm to exploit a vulnerability or a new opportunity.”
Adding to the news of the secret service crypto seizure, the spokesperson said that regardless of the form of the transaction, the agency will assure that the transaction takes place within a secure and safe national financial environment. The operation where the Secret Service seized crypto followed a government advisory that was issued on Monday regarding the increasing cyber threats related to digital currency.
FBI And Secret Service Seized Crypto: Operations
In the advisory, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, the FBI, and the Department of the Treasury stated that a North Korean cybercrime organization has been targeting various organizations in the digital currency space, tricking users to download illegitimate crypto apps via their devices. The group then avails the fake applications to receive access to the network and steal private data.
Just last week, the FBI declared that North Korean hackers, known as the Lazarus Group, stole over $620 million in digital currency in March from the virtual game Axie Infinity. In that same month, the Treasury Department sanctioned two Chinese nationals for their responsibility in a 2018 cyber breach including stolen digital currency. As per the agency, the breach was connected to the Lazarus Group.
The FBI seized Bitcoin and also stated that it would
“continue to expose and combat [North Korea’s] use of illicit activities — including cybercrime and cryptocurrency theft — to generate revenue for the regime.”
On their website, the agency stated that digital assets have been rising used to boost an evolving range of crimes that include several fraud schemes and also the use of ransomware. Also, the agency stated that the use of crypto was not inherently criminal. And to bring the nature of crypto to its original state the Secret Service seized crypto and will continue to do so if any illicit use of the same is found. As per reports, there will also be an FBI crypto recovery 2022 unit to further dismantle the criminal sector using crypto.