The Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) Criminal Investigation (CI) is taking a bold step in the battle against cybercrime by deploying cyber attachés across four continents. This update was disclosed on Thursday by the regulator.
The latest plan focuses on combating tax and financial crimes involving crypto, decentralized finance, peer-to-peer payments, and mixing services, the CI aims will strengthen international cooperation in the fight against these illicit activities.
Particularly, the initiative signals the IRS’s commitment to staying one step ahead of cyber criminals in the ever-evolving digital landscape.
The Global Cyber Showdown Begins
The IRS CI is planning to kick off a pilot program in June that will see cyber attachés stationed in strategic locations worldwide. The chosen cities for deployment include Sydney, Singapore, Bogota, and Frankfurt, covering the regions of Australia, Asia, South America, and Europe, respectively.
Collaborating closely with local law enforcement agencies, these attachés will harness their specialized skills to tackle tax evasion, financial fraud, and other criminal activities facilitated by digital currencies.
By stationing cyber attachés abroad, the IRS CI aims to facilitate a seamless exchange of expertise, intelligence, and tools with foreign counterparts. This proactive approach recognizes that effectively combating cybercrime requires a unified global front.
Jim Lee, Chief of the CI, emphasizes the importance of empowering foreign partners with the same level of proficiency and resources available within the United States. The success of this initiative will rely on forging strong international alliances to combat the transnational nature of cyber threats.
The CI Chief noted:
In order to effectively combat cybercrime, we need to ensure that our foreign counterparts have access to the same tools and expertise we have here in the United States.
The deployment of cyber attachés builds upon the CI’s existing efforts in international collaboration. Since 2020, the CI has stationed a permanent cyber attaché at Europol headquarters in The Hague, Netherlands.
This position was established to foster cooperation and coordination with European law enforcement agencies. Now, with the expansion of the attaché program, the CI can extend its reach and amplify its impact in regions known to be hotspots for cybercriminal activities.
A Focus On Crypto-Driven Crimes
As the world becomes increasingly digitized, cybercriminals are leveraging cryptocurrencies for various illicit activities. The IRS’s move to prioritize tax and financial crimes involving cryptocurrencies demonstrates its determination to combat these emerging threats head-on.
By targeting criminal schemes such as tax fraud, narcotics trafficking, money laundering, public corruption, and healthcare fraud, the CI aims to protect individuals, businesses, and the integrity of the global financial system.
The crackdown on cyber criminals by U.S. authorities has intensified, particularly those exploiting cryptocurrencies or decentralized finance (DeFi) to perpetrate their crimes. In a recent development, the IRS seized two domains linked to the notorious mixing service, ChipMixer, known for its involvement in ransomware attacks, fraud, cryptocurrency heists, and other hacking schemes.
Such actions send a strong message that law enforcement agencies are actively pursuing those who abuse digital currencies for their nefarious purposes.
Regardless, the crypto market has maintained composure despite the continuous cybercrimes going on in the industry. Over the past 24 hours, the global crypto market has seen a 1.1% loss, with a value sitting firmly above $1 trillion.
Featured image from Unsplash, Chart from TradingView
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