Blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis has purchased cybercrime investigative company Excygent for an undisclosed amount, hinting that the two will continue to work together to help “dismantle ransomware operations.”
In a Tuesday announcement, Chainalysis CEO Michael Gronager said the firm had collaborated with Excygent on the seizure of cryptocurrency connected to the now-defunct darknet market Silk Road, shutting down a major child abuse website, disrupting campaigns related to the financing of terrorism and other projects. Gronager said staff from Excygent would join the firm’s Investigations and Special Programs team to support investigations of thecryptocurrency used in cybercrimes.
“Following the flow of ransomware payments on the blockchain is instrumental for law enforcement to understand and dismantle ransomware operations,” Gronager said to Cointelegraph. “As paradoxical as it seems, it can actually be beneficial to investigators when bad actors choose to use cryptocurrency when committing crimes.”
The CEO cited Chainalysis’ contribution to the investigation of cybercrimes involving NetWalker, a ransomware operator who allegedly targeted hospitals during the pandemic and collected more than $25 million from ransom payments in 2020. In addition, the company looked into Russia-based business Suex OTC, recently targeted by the U.S. Treasury Department for allegedly allowing hackers to access cryptocurrency sent as payment for ransomware attacks. Chainalysis claimed that “tens of millions" worth of crypto payments from Suex’s funds came from addresses associated with different cybercrimes.
“Cryptocurrency is transparent, and with the right tools and the right talent, we can weed out bad actors and build a safer financial ecosystem,” said Gronager.
Related: US Senator Warren introduces bill to study crypto’s role in ransomware
Chainalysis has grown significantly in the last year, receiving support from both the United States government and the private sector. In June, the company reached a $4.2 billion valuation following a $100 million funding round led by global investment manager Coatue.