It requires some complicated methods so laundering cryptocurrencies hasn’t been widespread. Two giant companies, BAE Systems and SWIFT conducted a research to know how cyber actors spend their stolen cryptocurrency to avoid being traced.
The study, however, revealed that cases of cryptocurrency laundering are just a fraction of money laundering that occurs traditionally which includes the criminals wiring the stolen funds into different bank accounts.
Although they are few, some well known crypto laundering activities have necessitated the need to discover the methods used. A study on how the Lazarus Group hacking team, a group reportedly supported by the North Korean regime, was carried out to discover the methods employed by crypto launderers.
Lazarus Group used a method known as “layering technique” to perpetrate its acts. This technique involves stealing cryptocurrencies from one exchange and sending them into other exchanges.
The Group did this with the help of some people in East Asia who also got some share of the laundered funds. The role of the East Asia facilitators was to send the stolen funds into their crypto addresses so as to make it difficult to trace the source.
“Facilitators move a portion of the received funds through newly added bank accounts that are linked to their exchange account – this enables the conversion from cryptocurrency into fiat currency. Other stolen funds might be transferred in Bitcoin into prepaid gift cards, which can be used at other exchanges to purchase additional Bitcoin.”
It has also been reported that Lazarus Group has been trying to steal from some crypto and blockchain talents showcased on LinkedIn.