Blockchain & Cryptocurrency , Cybercrime , Cybercrime as-a-service

Why Blockchain Is a Double-Edged Sword for Criminals

Chainalysis' Jackie Burns Koven Shares Netwalker Ransomware Disruption Highlights
Jackie Burns Koven, cyberthreat intelligence lead, Chainalysis

The disruption of the Netwalker ransomware group in January 2021 by U.S. and Bulgarian authorities resulted in the seizure of $30 million, the largest-ever recovery of ransomware funds, but it was also notable for the way cybersecurity teams took down the group.

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The Netwalker operation demonstrated how blockchain can be an Achilles' heel for cryptocurrency-using criminals since it enables at least some of their activities to be tracked, says Jackie Burns Koven, cyberthreat intelligence lead at blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis.

In a video interview with Information Security Media Group at RSA Conference 2022, where she served as a session panelist for "BTC as an IOC: Inside the Largest Ever Ransomware Funds Seizure," Koven discusses:

  • Highlights from the January 2021 Netwalker disruption, including the arrest of a key affiliate;
  • Why blockchain can be a double-edged sword for criminals;
  • How the ransomware, ransomware-as-a-service and affiliate-based ecosystem is expected to evolve.

At Chainalysis, Koven has been tracking ransomware operators and their enablers on blockchain for three years. Prior to joining Chainalysis, she served in the U.S. intelligence community.

About the Author

Mathew J. Schwartz

Mathew J. Schwartz

Executive Editor, DataBreachToday & Europe, ISMG

Schwartz is an award-winning journalist with two decades of experience in magazines, newspapers and electronic media. He has covered the information security and privacy sector throughout his career. Before joining Information Security Media Group in 2014, where he now serves as the executive editor, DataBreachToday and for European news coverage, Schwartz was the information security beat reporter for InformationWeek and a frequent contributor to DarkReading, among other publications. He lives in Scotland.

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