A high court in the UK has ordered the Bitfinex crypto exchange to freeze $860,000 worth of BTC. That was passing through the exchange. The funds are connected to a group of ransomware hackers. They were part of a $1.2 million ransom that a Canadian insurance firm paid after its systems were compromised by the BitPaymer ransomware. The malware locks up a computer and demands that BTC be deposited to a Bitcoin address so that it can unlock the files.
Bitfinex Maintains its Innocence
Once their system was back online, the traced the BTC to Bitfinex where it was in the process of being laundered. According to court documents, the UK high court demanded that Bitfinex lock up the funds involved in the ransom payment. Besides that, the exchange has been ordered to provide all user information associated with the BTC transaction.
Bitfinex has not commented on the matter since the case is still ongoing. However, it said that it was working with the authorities to trace the fund. According to a recent report, Bitfinex claims that it was innocent in this matter and was no longer the focus of the victim’s recovery effort. The insurance firm has also not commented on the issue since the case is still active.
Earlier on, Bitfinex, which is registered in the British Virgin Islands, had claimed it would only comply with a court order when it was served in person. However, the judge ruled that it could be served via email.
Once it received the decryption, it took 10 days for the firm to recover its system, which included 1000 desktop computers and 20 servers. It is not clear how the hackers managed to install the malware in the insurer’s computers.
It is not often that judges issue orders to exchanges ordering them to lock up funds. However, in 2018, a Judge in the US ruled that it was illegal to interact with crypto addresses associated with two Iranians. It is estimated that over a billion dollars’ worth of crypto is involved in illicit activities annually.