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UN Top Official Says Cryptocurrencies Make it Harder to Fight Cybercrime

A top official of the United Nations (UN) has stated that the anonymous feature of cryptocurrencies, has contributed negatively to the conduct of illicit activities.

According to today’s broadcast on Australian Broadcasting Corporation, head of the Cybercrime and Anti-Money-Laundering department of the UN’s Office on Drugs and Crime, Neil Walsh has indicated that cryptos have added lots of secrecy to the way illicit activities are being conducted.

He added that the anonymous nature of cryptos works in favor of criminals who are into terrorist financing, global child sexual exploitation networks, money laundering, among others.

Cryptocurrencies makes it hard for investigators to manage some huge risks because in the past tracking these activities are easier [via local bank transfers], but with the use of cryptocurrencies [in these activities] it is complicated to track and manage, Neil said.

However, he said that his department needs all the help they can get from crypto experts and the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), to set up regulatory measures to curb this global epidemic.

Additionally, he indicated that crypto exchanges could also help streamline the anonymous feature of cryptos, by being strict with the know-your-customer (KYC) policy, thus making it easier for investigators to know the details of every transaction and tracking them.

Earlier this month, in a confidential report by independent experts to the UN, North Korea was accused of using multiple cyberattacks to steal an estimated $2 billion from cryptocurrency exchanges and banks.

The report stated that crypto exchanges were targeted mostly in the attack because of the anonymous nature of cryptocurrencies. South Korea reportedly bore the brunt of the majority of the attack.

The UN stated that out of the 35 instances where the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) cyber actors conducted these attacks, South Korea recorded ten, followed by India, Bangladesh, and Chile which suffered three and two separate attacks respectively.

Neil acknowledged that so far, the Australian government has been supportive in the fight against cybercrime, by providing the necessary fund to the UN Cybercrime and Anti-Money-Laundering section.

According to him, the fund is used to equip global security agencies, to help tackle cybercrime. In the same light, the funds are employed in sensitizing the public not to fall prey to these hackers.

 

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