Since the US presidential election was wrapped up back in 2016, there have been numerous claims that Russia interfered with the national exercise. A serious inquiry was commissioned to look into those claims and dig up any evidence. The task was tackled by one Robert Mueller. Now that the Mueller report is ready, the atmosphere is restless again as the deep details are expected to be revealed.
However, much concern is one of the claims made in the report. Apparently, Russian agents used cryptocurrencies to fund their interference operations. In this case, Bitcoin features very heavily. This claim raises concerns as to how cryptocurrencies can be misused by bad characters due to the technically anonymous nature of their transactions.
They Mined Bitcoin
According to the Mueller Report, a Russian military unit involved in the election meddling was behind the hacking and exposure of damaging email content targeting Hilary Clinton. To fund their operations, the Russians mounted a Bitcoin mining station where they mined the cryptocurrencies which they then used to purchase their hacking equipment and other related infrastructure.
The purchased hacking tools were then used to hack into the computer hardware at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) and the Democratic National Committee (DNC). This led to the leaking of the confidential Clinton emails and hugely affected her campaign for the presidency.
Bypassed KYC/AML Procedures
Even more baffling, according to the report, is the fact that the Russian spy team was able to circumvent the KYC (Know Your Customer) and AML (Anti-Money Laundering) policies put in place at a crypto exchange in the UK. They used the exchange known as CEX.io. They used Bitcoins stored in this exchange to purchase a domain name, dcleaks.com.
Commenting on the failure of the exchange to enforce the security policies, the US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin expressed concerns, saying that the use of crypto exchanges differs greatly with traditional banks. He added that in the light of the release of the Mueller Report, this issue needs to be looked into ever more closely.