AUSTRAC rolls out guide to detect crypto crimes

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TL; DR Breakdown

  • AUSTRAC release guides to identify crypto crimes
  • Australia registers a surge in ransomware cases
  • AUSTRAC highlights behaviors of users affected by ransomware attacks

The Australian agency charged with monitoring compliance, AUSTRAC, has released new guides to help companies spot assets being by malicious actors. According to the agency, investments will be able to spot digital assets that are going into malicious uses, including when users are trying to pay for ransomware. However, AUSTRAC has warned that suspending a customer from banking based on suspicion could blowback.

Ransomware cases are on the uptick in Australia

In its statement earlier today, the Australian agency pointed out that digital assets have been doing good in the last few years, seeing a spike in users. However, all these positive actions have invited malicious actors who carry out malicious activities like hacking and scams. In its document, the body noted that cybercrime had been a long-fought crime across the country in the last few years.

In a bid to buttress its claim, AUSTRAC claimed that the 2020-21 financial year ended with more than 500 ransomware cases. This figure represented a small rise of about 15% from the 2019-20 financial year. The new guidelines will help investments and agencies catch bad actors and provide an easier method to report these crimes to the appropriate agencies. Businesses and investments must always report suspected malicious activities to the body after alerting the police.

AUSTRAC highlights behaviors of affected users

Giving a reaction to the new update, Steve Vallas, the CEO of one of the famous crypto investments in Australia, Blockchain Australia, thumbed up the guides. In his statement, Vallas mentioned that digital assets should make our lives easier and not be used for criminal activities. He also mentioned that businesses should build a good communication channel with the government to detect and report issues to the proper authorities on time.

In the released document, AUSTRAC noted the behaviors of users or traders when they are paying for ransomware. Some of these behaviors include rushing to make as many transactions as possible in a short time and showing impatience over how slow and ideally fast transaction is on the network. Although the highlighted guides are pretty easy to pick out, the body pointed out that users are always afraid to report crimes. One reason is that they feel the hackers might hike the ransom or destroy the information at their disposal if they report to the authorities.

The guide also urged the businesses to ask users to report to the cybersecurity agency of the ACSC. The document also talked about some malicious activities carried out using digital assets, such as laundering and the purchase of illegal items on banned websites. Some of these bad actors try to cover up the source of the funds by moving it across different accounts after depositing using fiat. Some of the methods used for such activities are the mixing services in the DeFi sector.

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