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Russia's cybercriminals fear sanctions will erase their wealth


Punitive economic sanctions over Russia's invasion of Ukraine had crooks discussing the best ways to adapt to the new reality.

Members of Russian-language underground forums are not immune to the latest news. Russia's invasion of Ukraine and subsequent economic sanctions against Moscow got forum users to discuss how to live in this new world they find themselves in.

According to a report by the Digital Shadows Photon team, dark web forums are teeming with questions on how to ensure the safety of funds held in Russia-based accounts.

One user sought advice on what to do with dollars held in a Russian bank, with others suggesting converting dollars to rubles for a few months.

"I hope you were joking about [holding the funds in rubles for] half a year? After half a year, your rubles will only be good for lighting a fire, they will not be good for anything else," a forum user responded.

The report indicated a general sentiment being rather dire, with many forum users unsure what to do with their assets as it has become almost impossible to transfer the funds abroad or purchase cryptocurrency without raising suspicion.

Interestingly, many fear that crypto-related organizations keenly observe measures to limit Russia's access to international financial markets. However, cryptocurrency remains the key suggestion for many cybercriminals, with some calling crypto 'the only reliable option left.'

Another route to exfiltrate funds goes via third-party countries in the Commonwealth of Independent States with fewer restrictions on transferring funds to Russia. Dark web forum users claim this route might not be suitable for large transactions.

According to the report, members of a carding-focused forum appear to be most concerned about the impact of sanctions.

Since USPS, FedEx and UPS suspended international mail services to Russia, goods purchased with stolen payment card details can't reach the crooks.

Others complained they had issues posting malicious ads on Instagram since Russian authorities started limiting access to the social network and the social network stopped taking payments from Russia-based accounts.

Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, starting a war all over the country.

According to the United Nations, the Russian invasion of Ukraine has created the 'fastest-growing refugee crisis in Europe since World War II.' Over 10 million people were displaced due to the conflict, with over 3.8 million fleeing the country.


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