Due of the sanctions, Russian hackers are looking for new ways to launder money

The sanctions imposed by the US and the EU against Russia seem to have taken a heavy toll on Russian hackers who are looking for alternative ways to launder money.

On April 5 this year, law enforcement agencies in Germany seized the servers of Hydra Market, the largest Russian-language platform on the dark web, with an annual turnover of more than $1.35 billion.

The next day, US authorities imposed sanctions on Garantex, one of the most important platforms used by Russian hackers to launder stolen funds.

Also, as we said, The FBI charged a Russian who ran a criminal marketplace.

And finally, recently Binance became the first major cryptocurrency exchange to block the ability of Russian users to conduct transactions and invest funds. Even large-scale mining operations fell under the sanctions.

This, coupled with other measures that Russia has taken gain firmer control over its internet infrastructure, has challenged the status quo between Russian cybercriminals and the country that turns a blind eye to, or supports, their illicit activities.<span class="su-quote-cite"><a href="" target="_blank"><b>Flashpoint</b> researchers report.</a></span>

Considering all stated before, Russian hackers have to look for new ways to launder money. According to Flashpoint, as an alternative, they began to use Chinese payment systems, including banking and Union Pay. However, Union Pay is already considering the possibility of blocking users from the Russian Federation, so this loophole may close soon.

Let me remind you that we also reported that Backbone provider Cogent disconnects Russian companies.

Blocking money transfers through Western Union and MoneyGram has made life much more difficult for scammers and extortionists who use these services to anonymously receive payments from their victims.

Due to the blocking of SWIFT in Russia and sanctions against Russian banks, cybercriminals began to launder money through banks in Armenia, Vietnam and China, where sanctions were not imposed.

Cryptocurrency exchanges that ask their users for personal data, even those operating in the Russian Federation, are not suitable for hackers who need anonymity, so the only thing available to them is underground cryptocurrency mixers and withdrawal services.<span class="su-quote-cite">Flashpoint experts said.</span>

Since money laundering specialists have lost the ability to advertise their services on the Hydra Market, they have to limit themselves to smaller, untrusted transactions.

According to Flashpoint, due to the current situation, some cybercriminals decided to postpone the withdrawal of funds and began to invest in gold and store cryptocurrency in offline wallets.

However, the situation is unlikely to affect the activity of hackers pursuing financial gain. Low-level cybercriminals and inexperienced hackers will suffer the most, but the private money laundering channels of high-profile cybercriminals will likely continue to operate.
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Daniel Zimmermann

Daniel Zimmermann has been writing on security and malware subjects for many years and has been working in the security industry for over 10 years. Daniel was educated at the Saarland University in Saarbrücken, Germany and currently lives in New York.

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