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FBI Crypto Unit Crops Up to Combat Digital Currency Exploits

Crypto hacks are a consistent topic of debate among digital currency enthusiasts. It seems like every month, there’s a new big exploit that robs a protocol of millions of dollars. And most often, these hackers end up getting away with t…

Crypto hacks are a consistent topic of debate among digital currency enthusiasts. It seems like every month, there’s a new big exploit that robs a protocol of millions of dollars. And most often, these hackers end up getting away with their deeds, only returning stolen funds if they themselves feel like it. But, that might not be the norm for long. It looks like the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is ramping up its pursuit of crypto criminals. News today showcases a FBI crypto unit that will help keep American investors protected.

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The FBI has been involved in finding crypto criminals before, but it hasn’t had a dedicated department focusing on the space. However, crypto hacks are growing in frequency and boldness. Between 2013-2017, crypto hacks robbed platforms of roughly $22 billion. Fast forward, and in 2021 alone, hacks accounted for $14 billion in losses.

Also in the last year, the government agency had to contribute significant energy toward finding actors behind two separate hacks. The first of these was the Colonial Pipeline Co. ransomware hack. The high profile hack saw a group freeze movement of gasoline across the eastern United States until it received a multi-million dollar Bitcoin (BTC-USD) ransom. The FBI was able to seize back $2.3 million in crypto after the hack.

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The second of these was of much grander scale; it recovered $3.6 billion in crypto stolen during the Bitfinex exchange hack of 2016. In the months since, it has also assisted the Department of Justice in tracking down and recently arresting a New York couple suspected of the hack.

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FBI Crypto Unit Dedicates Agency Manpower to Solving Crypto Crimes

The story of these two hacks in particular are driving a significant narrative around crypto extortion and hacking in the last year and a half. And without the FBI’s assistance, there’s a high chance that these criminals might have gotten away with the events. Now, the FBI crypto unit will help the agency to better dedicate attention to a crime industry that is only becoming more and more prevalent.

The agency is announcing today the launch of the National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team, the first dedicated crypto crime group under the FBI umbrella. The new team will be headed by Eun Young Choi. Choi is a prosecutor who is well acquainted with cybersecurity. Most recently, she served as Senior Counsel to Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco.

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This new unit’s focus will not only be keeping exchanges secure. It will also look into tracking crypto after it has been successfully stolen; the unit will do this by tracking crypto mixers and other methods hackers use to launder the stolen funds. And in the aftermath of the Colonial Pipeline hack, Monaco assures that the unit will also emphasize ransomware attacks.

On the date of publication, Brenden Rearick did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.

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