The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation is launching the Virtual Asset Exploitation Team (VAXU), reported TechCrunch. It will be part of the greater the National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team (NCET) launched in 2021.
U.S. Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco announced the team during a speech at the Munich Cyber Security Conference.
Virtual Asset Exploitation Team
VAXU will combine cryptocurrency experts, blockchain analysis and virtual asset seizure for investigations and training. In large part it will be tracking ransomware payments which are typically paid in cryptocurrency. The FBI has recently warned of new strains of ransomware and tracks over a 100 types of the malware.
Ransomware and digital extortion, like many other crimes fueled by cryptocurrency, only work if the bad guys get paid, which means we have to bust their business model. The currency might be virtual, but the message to companies is concrete: if you report to us, we can follow the money and not only help you but hopefully prevent the next victim.
On February 17 the Justice Department announced the first director of the National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team. Eun Young Choi has been a prosecutor for over a decade and most recently served as Senior Counsel to the Deputy Attorney General. The NCET is made up of attorneys from across the DoJ to “identify, investigate, support and pursue the department’s cases involving the criminal use of digital assets.”
The team will also train and support law enforcement on the federal, state, local, and international levels to help them investigate and prosecute serious crimes involving cryptocurrency and other digital assets.