Although the Finnish authorities did not reveal the method used in analyzing Monero, Julius Aleksanteri Kivimäki has been confirmed as the key figure behind the Vastaamo data breach.
In what has been described as the largest criminal case in the modern history of Finland, the Vastaamo data breach has to a greater extent been deciphered. According to a recent report, the cyberattack mastermind Julius Aleksanteri Kivimäki received Bitcoin (BTC) from the victims and swapped the coins for Monero (XMR), a crypto asset that has obtained global attention for its ability to keep user finances secure and confidential. Reportedly, Finland’s National Bureau of Investigation alias KRP, a civilian police unit tasked with dismantling criminal organizations, analyzed the on-chain payments used in the ransoms and traced the funds to Kivimäki’s bank account.
Interestingly, Kivimäki sent the Bitcoins received to Binance Holdings Ltd., a leading cryptocurrency exchange by daily traded volume, where it is believed he swapped them for Monero before withdrawing the funds to a dedicated XMR wallet. With Binance having already complied with the set requirements for customer registration through the Know Your Customers (KYC) program, it was much easier for the hacker to be unmasked.
Notably, Kivimäki is facing several charges including aggravated data breach, attempted extortion, distribution of information infringing private life, blackmail, breach of confidentiality, and falsification of evidence. With the funds traced into his accounts, Kivimäki is facing many years behind bars if convicted in the ongoing trial. Moreover, Kivimäki went ahead to publish the stolen personal information in order to push the victims to send the 40 Bitcoins for ransom.
— Joe Tidy (@joetidy) January 19, 2024
Monero Under Global Regulatory Threat
Monero (XMR) has established itself as a privacy-centric asset that intends to free the financial system from third-party control and government interference. As a result, the XMR ecosystem has been under constant scrutiny and pressure, as more global regulators seek to end its dominance in the criminal industry. However, the diversified crypto regulations around the world through the decentralized financial ecosystem (DeFi) give Monero a better chance of thriving in the future.
It is not. Culprit used KYC exchange.
— St₳kΣ with Pride 🌈 (@StakeWithPride) January 28, 2024
Notably, several jurisdictions have already proposed and others enacted a complete ban on XMR, which has caused several centralized exchanges to delist the asset for trading. Consequently, Monero has gradually been dropping from the top digital assets by market capitalization in the recent past. According to data provided by Coingecko, Monero ranked 32 by market capitalization having dropped from the top 20 in the past two years. As of this report, all XMR trading pairs reported a daily average trading volume of about $57 million
Nevertheless, the mid-cap altcoin is showing early signs of recovery after consolidating nearly five years. Furthermore, XMR price has been consolidating in a macro triangular pattern that often ends in a bullish breakout.