The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) has recently released a Grand Jury indictment charging 12 Russian nationals with committing federal crimes that were primarily funded by Bitcoin (BTC). The 12 ‘agents’ who are members of the GRU (a Russian Federation Intelligence Agency) intended to interfere with the 2016 U.S Presidential Elections using these funds.
The agents are accused of engaging in the hacking into the computer networks of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the Democratic National Committee (DNC), and the presidential campaign of Hillary ClintonDNC; and later managing to leak the information on the internet under the names of “DCLeaks” and “Guccifer 2.0” and through another entity.
To avoid detection, the 12 defendants used false identities while using a network of computers from around the globe, paid for using mined Bitcoin (BTC) and other means aimed at obscuring the source of the funds.
Deputy Attorney General, Rod J. Rosenstein, stated that:
The Internet allows foreign adversaries to attack America in new and unexpected ways. Together with our law enforcement partners, the Department of Justice is resolute in its commitment to locate, identify and seek to bring to justice anyone who interferes with American elections.
He added that:
Free and fair elections are hard-fought and contentious, and there will always be adversaries who work to exacerbate domestic differences and try to confuse, divide, and conquer us. So long as we are united in our commitment to the shared values enshrined in the Constitution, they will not succeed.
The indictment further states that the defendants managed to launder the equivalent of $95,000 to fund other costs related to their hacking activities. So far, there has been no American cited as being part of the indictment and plans to interfere with the 2016 Presidential Elections.
Recent developments indicate that President Trump has ordered the creation of a new task force to investigate crimes related to the use of crypto, especially those of cyber and crypto fraud. The task force will start working on a comprehensive strategy to deal with all these crypto related crimes.
[Photo source, wildcat.arizona.edu]