The Second International Counter Ransomware Initiative (CRI) Summit held recently at the White House turned the spotlight on the need to counter cybercriminal and other threat actors’ efforts to use the cryptocurrency ecosystem to garner payments and mask illicit activity. Now more than ever, financial investigators need to use open-source intelligence to trace illicit funds and criminal activity associated with cryptocurrencies. While not all crypto transactions are peer-to-peer (P2P), the P2P nature and privacy of some cryptocurrency has become an attractive way to pay—not just for ordinary citizens, but also for criminals. The White House brought together 36 countries and the European Union for the summit to discuss cooperative actions to counter the spread and impact of ransomware around the globe. Of note, the countries committed to hold a second counter-illicit finance ransomware workshop to expand on the lessons learned during the first workshop led by the U.S. Department of Treasury in July 2022 to build capacity on blockchain tracing and analytics. This will include a tabletop ransomware exercise, coordinated with law enforcement.
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