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US Treasury Sanctions SUEX as Fight Against Ransomware Continues
On Tuesday 21st September, the US treasury announced that it would sanction the SUEX exchange. According to the treasury, SUEX took part in Ransomware activities.
The government has been fighting against such attacks for several years. However, its efforts have been futile due to the lack of international support.
US Treasury Sanctions Crypto Exchanges
In a public release, the US Treasury recently announced sanctions on SUEX. Comprehensively, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) proposed the recent sanctions.
The OFAC linked SUEX to eight illegal activities similar to ransomware operations. The value of the funds of the ransomware is $160 million. About 40% of SUEX exchange activities were unlawful.
According to the release, SUEX released information about clients. The report released made clients vulnerable to ransomware attacks. SUEX is the first crypto exchange network to undergo sanctions in the US.
The sanctions put the exchange on a list of drug traffickers and terrorists. By fighting against such exchanges, the treasury will make it hard for ransomware to operate. Ademeyo, the Deputy Treasury secretary noted that:
Exchanges like Suex are critical to attackers’ ability to extract profits from ransomware attacks. Today’s action signals our intention to expose and disrupt the illicit infrastructure used in these attacks.
Any person in the US using the exchange will face similar consequences. Fighting against ransomware will help the government protect its users from such crimes.
The Fight Against Ransomware
The fight against ransomware attackers has been going on for some time in the US. For instance, according to the government, ransomware payments hit over $400 million in 2020. Also, that value was a four times increase from 2019.
This year, ransomware attacked Colonial, one of the largest US pipeline companies. In fact, the attack was so severe that Colonial shut down some of its activities. Other reports state that ransomware attacks in the banking sector increased by 1300%. The treasury secretary Janet Yellen said:
Ransomware and cyber-attacks victimize businesses large and small across America and are a direct threat to our economy.
US treasury actions show their commitment to winning the fight. Also, the treasury encourages everyone to report any breaches. It also targets crypto mixer and other 3rd party apps. According to their release, the mixers make investigations hard by sending investigators off-trail.
The Lacking International Support
Generally, most ransomware activities happen in Asian and European countries like Russia. This year, President Biden warned of dire consequences if they continued to harbor the activities.
Although SUEX is from the Czech Republic, most of its users are in Russia and other Asian countries. However, the Russian government is not taking the fight seriously. That said, the move by the treasury is vital in protecting its users.