Authorities take down darknet cryptocurrency 'mixing' service

The Division of Justice on Wednesday introduced that it has dismantled a darknet cryptocurrency mixer referred to as ChipMixer for enabling cyber criminals to launder greater than $3 billion of cryptocurrency. 

Authorities mentioned they’d seized two domains that directed customers to the blending service.

Based on the DOJ, ChipMixer was additionally concerned in different unlawful actions together with ransomware, fraud, cryptocurrency heists and different hacking schemes.

“This morning, working with companions at residence and overseas, the Division of Justice disabled a prolific cryptocurrency mixer, which has fueled ransomware assaults, state-sponsored crypto-heists and darknet purchases throughout the globe,” mentioned Deputy Lawyer Normal Lisa Monaco in an announcement.

The company additionally charged Minh Quốc Nguyễn, a Vietnamese operator of ChipMixer, with cash laundering, working an unlicensed cash transmitting enterprise and id theft.

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Based on DOJ officers, ChipMixer allowed customers to deposit bitcoin which it then used to combine with different customers’ bitcoin funds, making it troublesome for authorities to hint the supply of the transactions. 

Hackers use issues like ChipMixer to cover or launder funds.

Crypto mixers like ChipMixer are sometimes utilized by people or teams that need to make their transactions nameless and tougher to hint by mixing their funds with others on the blockchain.

Based on the grievance, “ChipMixer attracted a big felony clientele and have become indispensable in obfuscating and laundering funds from a number of felony schemes.”

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The DOJ alleged that the blending service processed $17 million in bitcoin for criminals tied to about 37 varieties of ransomware. 

That is the most recent motion taken by the U.S. authorities to crack down on cryptocurrency mixers that permit cyber criminals to make use of their platforms to conduct unlawful transactions. 

Final yr, the Treasury Division sanctioned Twister Money, one other cryptocurrency mixer, for serving to hackers launder greater than $7 billion value of digital forex.

Based on the company, Twister Money allowed cyber teams, together with North Korean-backed hackers, to make use of its platform to launder the proceeds of cybercrimes. 

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For example, a state-sponsored hacking group, referred to as the Lazarus Group, tied to North Korea used Twister Money to steal greater than $455 million in cryptocurrency, the biggest identified digital forex heist to this point, the division mentioned. 

“Criminals have lengthy sought to launder the proceeds of their criminality via varied means,” mentioned Particular Agent in Cost Jacqueline Maguire of the FBI Philadelphia Discipline Workplace in an announcement. “Expertise has modified the sport, although, with a web site like ChipMixer and facilitator like Nguyen enabling dangerous actors to take action on a grand scale with ease.”

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