When the FBI successfully breached a crypto wallet held by the Colonial Pipeline hackers by following the money trail on bitcoin’s blockchain, it was a wake-up call for any cyber criminals who thought transacting in cryptocurrency automatically protected them from scrutiny.
One of the core tenets of bitcoin is that its public ledger, which stores all token transactions in its history, is visible to everyone. This is why more hackers are turning to coins like dash, zcash, and monero, which have additional anonymity built into them.
Monero, in particular, is increasingly the cryptocurrency of choice for the world’s top ransomware criminals.
“The more savvy criminals are using monero,” said Rick Holland, chief information security officer at Digital Shadows, a cyberthreat intelligence company.
Created in 2014
Monero was released in 2014 by a consortium of developers, many of whom chose to remain anonymous. As spelled out in its white paper, “privacy and anonymity” are the most important aspects of this digital currency.
The privacy token operates on its own blockchain, which hides virtually all transaction details. The identity of the sender and recipient, as well as the transaction amount itself, are disguised.
Because of these anonymity features, monero allows cyber criminals greater freedom from some of the tracking tools and mechanisms that the bitcoin blockchain offers.
“On the bitcoin blockchain, you can see what wallet address transacted, how many bitcoin, where it came from, where it’s going,” explained Fred Thiel, former chairman of Ultimaco, one of