Recorded Future, on 28 September, released a report which contained the results of analysed current data from its own sources, dark web, and open-source intelligence (OSINT) sources to review money laundering services within underground sourcing and the methodology and operations used by threat actors. This report expands upon findings addressed in an earlier report. The new report finds that –
- Dark web money laundering services facilitate a multitude of combinations through which threat actors can clean their money and can transfer cryptocurrency into virtual currency, have funds sent to a bank account or payment cards, or exchange to physical fiat currency;
- Money laundering services referenced within underground sources over the past year have consistently relied on money mules, cash-out requests, exchangers, or mixers to succeed;
- Despite a high volume of arrests and takedowns of money laundering services or services that support laundering activity over the past year, underground actors generally appear disinclined to cease laundering operations they likely continue to deem profitable;
- Cybercriminals are likely to adopt new technologies such as NFT and other laundering techniques in response to law enforcement action and growing private sector awareness of their activities; and
- Ransomware operators likely use the multitude of dark web money laundering services operated by threat actors on well-known cybercrime forums such as Verified. Bitcoin is likely to continue to be the most widely used cryptocurrency in ransomware and laundering operations.
The earlier report, from February, set out to provide an overview of how cybercrime gets monetised. This describes 11 types of fraud methods and services currently used by threat actors to facilitate their campaigns. For each, it provides a brief overview of some notable recent developments, list some of the top vendors of these services on the criminal underground, and provide suggested mitigations for defenders to implement.
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