Ransomware Hackers and Scammers Using Cloud Mining to Launder Cryptocurrency

Jun 15, 2023Ravie LakshmananCryptocurrency / Ransomware

Cloud Mining to Launder Cryptocurrency

Ransomware actors and cryptocurrency scammers have joined nation-state actors in abusing cloud mining providers to launder digital property, new findings reveal.

“Cryptocurrency mining is a vital a part of our business, however it additionally holds particular attraction to unhealthy actors, because it supplies a method to accumulate cash with a very clear on-chain authentic supply,” blockchain analytics agency Chainalysis mentioned in a report shared with The Hacker Information.

Earlier this March, Google Mandiant disclosed North Korea-based APT43’s use of the hash rental and cloud mining providers to obscure the forensic path and wash the stolen cryptocurrency “clear.”

Cloud mining providers permit customers to lease a pc system and use that pc’s hash energy to mine cryptocurrencies with out having to handle the mining {hardware} themselves.

However in line with Chainalysis, it is not simply nation-state hacking crews who’re leveraging such providers within the wild.

In a single instance highlighted by the corporate, mining swimming pools and wallets related to ransomware actors have been used to ship funds to a “extremely energetic deposit deal with” at an unnamed mainstream crypto change.

This consists of $19.1 million from 4 ransomware pockets addresses and $14.1 million from three mining swimming pools, with a major chunk of the funds routed by way of a community of middleman wallets and swimming pools.

Cloud Mining to Launder Cryptocurrency

“On this situation, the mining pool acts equally to a mixer in that it obfuscates the origin of funds and creates the phantasm that the funds are proceeds from mining fairly than from ransomware,” Chainalysis famous.

In an indication that the pattern is gaining traction, the cumulative worth of property despatched from ransomware wallets to exchanges via mining swimming pools has surged from lower than $10,000 in Q1 2018 to virtually $50 million in Q1 2023.


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That is not all. As many as 372 change deposit addresses have been discovered to obtain not less than $1 million value of cryptocurrency from mining swimming pools and any quantity from ransomware addresses since January 2018.

“Total, the information means that mining swimming pools could play a key position in lots of ransomware actors’ cash laundering technique,” Chainalysis mentioned.

Mining swimming pools have additionally earned a spot within the playbooks of rip-off operators just like the BitClub Community, who’ve been discovered commingling their illicit Bitcoin proceeds with property acquired from a Russia-based Bitcoin mining operation and BTC-e, a crypto change that was set as much as facilitate the laundering of cash stolen within the notorious Mt. Gox hack.

“Crypto scammers and cash launderers engaged on their behalf are additionally utilizing mining swimming pools as a part of their cash laundering course of,” the corporate mentioned. “Deposit addresses [with receipts of at least $1 million worth of crypto from mining pools] have acquired just below $1.1 billion value of cryptocurrency from scam-related addresses since 2018.”

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