The U.S. Department of Justice has announced the arrest of Russian national Anatoly Legkodymov, founder of Hong Kong-based cryptocurrency exchange Bitzlato, which has been accused of engaging in illicit fund transfers, including money laundering for Russian cybercrime group Conti, since it commenced operations in 2016, CyberScoop reports.
Such an arrest comes amid the U.S. government's efforts in cracking down on cryptocurrency use for cybercrime and other illicit activity. The Justice Department claimed Legkodymov's awareness of unlawful usage of the platform, with a message written to a colleague noting that known crooks have been using the cryptocurrency exchange's internal chat system.
"To all those exploiting the cryptocurrency ecosystem to enable cryptocrime, we have a clear message: we will not only target hackers, fraudsters, and criminals that mask their profits in cryptocurrency. We are also unleashing the full force of the Department of Justice on the illicit actors and entities that support cybercriminals like Legkodymov and Bitzlato," said U.S. Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco.
North Korean hackers have stolen $630 million in cryptocurrency assets in 2022, the highest on record, reports Reuters. Sophisticated techniques have been leveraged by North Korean threat actors to facilitate the record-high theft of virtual assets, which are being allocated toward its nuclear weapons programs, according to a United Nations report. Such a figure comes after a cybersecurity firm earlier reported that more than $1 billion in cryptocurrency have been stolen by North Koreans last year. "The variation in USD value of cryptocurrency in recent months is likely to have affected these estimates, but both show that 2022 was a record-breaking year for DPRK (North Korea) virtual asset theft," said the U.N. report.
Several financial institutions in Brazil have been targeted by the novel Android banking trojan PixPirate that exploits the PIX payments platform for fraudulent activities, according to The Hacker News.