A 29-page Indictment has been released recently, stating Bitcoin’s huge role when it came to Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential elections.
The documents accuse 12 Russian agents of hacking into Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s computers and stealing information of over 500,000 voters. Aides close to Hillary Clinton were then tricked into handing over this information by the Russian intelligence officers.
11 of the 12 accused are being charged with breaking into computers and releasing documents with the intent of influencing the last presidential election. The 12th was charged with conspiring to penetrate organizations that directly handled the elections.
“…had multiple units, including Units 26165 and 74455, engage in cyber operations that involve stage releases of document stolen through computer intrusions. These units conducted large-scale cyber operations to interfere with the 2016 US presidential election.”
Bitcoin was mentioned extensively in count 10 (Conspiracy to Launder Money). Money was required for the Russian operatives to acquire infrastructure needed for later actions.
More than $95,000 was laundered through Bitcoin, which was then used to buy servers, register domains, and other online payments. The documents state other currencies like the USD was used as well, but it seems Bitcoin was used primarily due to the enhanced levels of privacy it affords over other payment methods.
Some of the funds were also used to purchase computing hardware to mine Bitcoin, to help supplement their income for hacking activities. Bitcoin mined by the GRU (Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff) were used to purchase the domain dcleaks.com through a Romanian company.
Besides the purchase of the domain and hardware to mine Bitcoin, other notable purchases described in the pages was a VPN to log into the @Guccifer_2 Twitter account, a Malaysian server to host the dcleaks domain, as well as the leasing of another server for X-Tunnel malware injected into DCCC and DNC networks.
An additional two servers were also acquired to hack in the DNC’s cloud network.
The effects this will have on a meeting between the two presidents planned for next week are yet to be determined. Trump and Putin are scheduled to meet Monday in Helsinki, and nothing has changed despite the emergence of this indictment.
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