Europol released a new assessment in which it highlighted that there was no terrorist attack or attempt that was backed by cryptocurrencies. It was shown that banks are still the medium chosen by terrorists.
Europol recently released its IOCTA (Internet Organized Crime Threat Assessment) and the organization highlighted the fact that the use of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin is growing among cybercriminals. However, terrorists prefer the conventional methods used for money transfers: wire transfers and banks. It was stated that:
…despite the clear potential, none of the (terrorist) attacks carried out on European soil appear to have been funded via cryptocurrencies.
The report went on to show that terrorist groups only used cryptocurrencies for low-level transactions while the large funding still comes from money remittance services and conventional banking.
Cryptocurrencies have been criticized by governments, politicians and critics as they would be used by terrorists, all in an attempt to lower the popularity of the crypto industry.
When analyzing cybercrime, Europol showed similar findings to what the cyber security industry has been saying: there is a sharp in the activities that involve threats using cryptocurrencies, like with cryptocurrency malware. Ever since the 2017 NotPetya and WannaCry attacks, the use of mining malware, ransomware and others have been growing. Bitcoin is still the preferred cryptocurrency among cyber criminals. IOCTA states:
While Bitcoin has lost its majority of the overall cryptocurrency market share, it still remains the primary cryptocurrency encountered by law enforcement.
This supports other documents released along the year by different security firms. For instance, Cyber Treat Alliance stated that mining malware detections increased 500% in 2018.
IOCTA is now forecasting that privacy-focused crypto coins are going to become more popular. This is because they can often be mined with the use of malware and can usurp the traditional means used to discover the identity of the hacker.
What Does The Europol Report Mean?
It is no secret that politicians, governments and various financial companies want to keep cryptocurrencies down as they pose a threat to their operations. The fact that terrorism was being financed through Bitcoin is proven to be false, at least at the moment. However, this does not mean things are as good as some think.
There is a growth in the number of cyber attacks that involve cryptocurrencies. Because of the fact that it is hard to track transactions and people behind them, especially with coins that are built around privacy, it is normal for more and more hackers to want to use cryptocurrencies.
For the average and even corporate user, all this means that security should be a priority. Securing computers, mobile phones and crypto wallets is more important than ever.
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