Europol: Crypto-Ransomware Remains Most Prominent Cyber Attack

The European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation (Europol) released its 2019 Internet Organized Crime Threat Assessment (IOCTA) report.

Crypto exchanges continue to be a magnet for hackers

On Oct. 9, Europol presented its IOCTA report of the cybercrime threat landscape. According to the EU-focused law-enforcement organization, cybercrime must be approached in a holistic sense, saying:

“Countering cybercrime is as much about its present forms as it is about future projections. New threats do not only arise from new technologies but, as is often demonstrated, come from known vulnerabilities in existing technologies.”

Europol's fifth edition of its IOCTA report paints a troublesome picture and shows that cryptocurrency-ransomware remains the most prominent cyber attack that European cybercrime investigators are confronted with, followed closely by attacks that illegally acquire financial data, such as credit card information, online banking credentials or cryptocurrency wallets. The report adds:

“Cryptocurrency exchanges continue to be a magnet for financially motivated hacking groups. In 2018, over $1 billion in cryptocurrencies were stolen from exchanges and other platforms worldwide.”

Europol further points out that different entities within the cryptocurrency ecosystem could be perceived as profitable targets for cybercriminals. The law enforcement agency believes that the trend of crimes is evolving to target cryptocurrencies and that more financially motivated cybercrime gangs will shift their focus to any entity with large holdings of cryptocurrency assets. Europol adds:

“Law enforcement must continue to build trust-based relationships with cryptocurrency-related businesses, academia, and other relevant private sector entities, to more effectively tackle issues posed by cryptocurrencies during investigations.”

Europol Shuts Down Counterfeiting Ring

Cointelegraph previously reported that Europol, together with the Portuguese police, had seized funds worth €70,000 ($77,200) in what they describe as one of the most advanced counterfeiting operations ever seen. Law enforcement succeeded in bringing down the ring, which sold fake notes on the dark web in return for Bitcoin (BTC).