Bitcoin’s popularity have made many individuals and companies invest in cryptocurrencies and now it has been a prime target for criminals for quite some time now. This trend has only intensified over the past few years. A new study by the Anti-Phishing Working Group claims that close to $1.2 billion worth of cryptocurrencies have been stolen since early 2017. The estimates are a part of a non-profit group.
“One problem that we’re seeing in addition to the criminal activity like drug trafficking and money laundering using cryptocurrencies is the theft of these tokens by bad guys,” Dave Jevans, the chief executive officer of cryptocurrency security firm CipherTrace, told Reuters in an interview.
evans has also estimated that only 20% of the stolen currency was recovered since global law enforcement has been tracking these cryptocurrencies for the last two years. These investigations will likely take a step back because of the GDPR regulations.
“GDPR will negatively impact the overall security of the internet and will also inadvertently aid cybercriminals,” said Jevans. “By restricting access to critical information, the new law will significantly hinder investigations into cybercrime, cryptocurrency theft, phishing, ransomware, malware, fraud and crypto-jacking,” he added.
GDPR aims to simplify and consolidate the regulations that companies need to follow in order to protect the data of the European Union citizens. GDPR also removes the WHOIS public database which contains the names, address and emails of the domain registrars. WHOIS data is a fundamental resource for investigators and law enforcement officials who work to prevent thefts, Jevans said. Now it would be very hard for the global law enforcement agencies to track the stolen cryptocurrencies because of masking the names of registrars.
“So what we’re going to see is that not only the European market goes dark for all of us; so all the bad guys will flow to Europe because you can actually access the world from Europe and there’s no way you can get the data anymore,” Jevans said.
It is a bit unclear what steps are being taken to recover the remainder of the stolen funds. Although it’s a major struggle, it seems some progress has been made. Even so, cryptocurrency enthusiasts will have to remain vigilant in order to thwart further heists from happening. This also means users will need to stop relying on centralized trading platforms which offer custodial services. So far, it seems those services remain extremely popular despite their obvious drawbacks.