Criminals rarely cash out funds through crypto: Russian central bank

Criminals in Russia rarely use cryptocurrencies to withdraw their stolen funds, a senior official at the Bank of Russia has revealed. While cryptos have continuously been bashed as being primarily used for criminal activities, the first deputy director of the Information Security Department at the bank stated that bank cards are used much more often than cryptos.

In an interview with local outlet TASS, Artem Sychev dismissed claims that criminals prefer crypto due to its anonymity. According to Sychev, these people prefer the channel that’s easiest to cash out, and this happens to be using debit and credit cards.

He stated, “In the Russian Federation, this is used very rarely. Yes, sometimes cryptocurrencies are used to withdraw funds, but now it is not massive, because it is much easier for an attacker to get cash.” The criminals usually use a card between two to four times before discarding it, he said.

Sychev further revealed that the bank has been constantly changing its methods so as to keep up with the latest trends in the criminal world. With criminals being renowned for using the latest technology to avoid capture, the bank has to shift its systems quickly or risk being outdone by criminals. He added:

“It’s not so important what technology will be developed in the near future—artificial intelligence or robotization. It’s more important for us to understand what technologies and methods an attacker can use not just for an attack, but also for withdrawing money. Our vector of attention will be turned to this. For example, if we see that attackers learn to quickly withdraw money through some specific channel—and we will see it—then we will accordingly build additional measures of protection in this direction.”

Sychev also revealed the other channels that have become common with criminals in recent times, top among them being social engineering techniques. These are tricks used by fraudsters to lure a victim into surrendering his/her personal information and account credentials. The fraudsters can do this via social media sites, email or through phone calls. He warned citizens to be vigilant and to report such crimes to relevant authorities immediately.

While cryptos are slowly shedding off their relation to crime, a report by analytics firm Chainalysis revealed that SegWitCoin (BTC) is responsible for over 95% of all the crypto crime. Speaking to Fortune, the firm’s COO stated that despite the rise of dark coins, BTC was still the criminals’ favorite.

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