The United States Treasury Department on Tuesday imposed sanctions on the SUEX cryptocurrency exchange for its links with ransomware attackers. The sanctions come as the US Treasury Department attempts to crack down on digital crime worldwide.
The move comes after cyber-attacks and data breaches targeting a major US oil pipeline, meatpacker, and Microsoft Exchange email system, as well as ransomware attacks targeting multiple sectors.
The US Treasury Department did not say whether SUEX cryptocurrency exchange was involved in any of these incidents, but noted that 40 percent of the exchange’s known transaction history has been linked to “illegal actors”.
Virtual currency exchanges are exploited by malicious actors, but others, like SUEX cryptocurrency exchange, enable illegal activity for their own illegal gain, ”the Treasury Department said in a statement. As a result of the sanctions, all assets of the platform are now blocked under US law and Americans are prohibited from using the SUEX cryptocurrency exchange.
The US offered $ 10 million in rewards for information about online blackmailers in July as it stepped up efforts to halt a surge in ransomware attacks.
This year there have been a number of high-profile ransomware attacks that disrupted a U.S. pipeline, a meat processor, and software company Kaseya, affecting 1,500 companies, many of which were far from the spotlight.
Cyber-attacks have increased 300 percent more than in 2019, according to the Department of Homeland Security.
US officials say many of the attacks came from Russia, despite debating the level of state involvement, Russia denies its responsibility.