Chainalysis acquires cybercrime investigative firm Excygent in fight against ransomware attacks

“Following the flow of ransomware payments on the blockchain is instrumental for law enforcement to understand and dismantle ransomware operations,” said Chainalysis CEO Michael Gronager.

Blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis has purchased cybercrime investigative company Excygent for an undisclosed amount, hinting the two will continue to work together to help “dismantle ransomware operations.”

In an Oct. 5 announcement, Chainalysis CEO Michael Gronager said the firm had collaborated with Excygent on projects including seizing cryptocurrency connected to the now defunct darknet market Silk Road, shutting down a major child abuse website, and disrupting campaigns related to the financing of terrorism. Gronager said staff from Excygent would join the firm’s Investigations and Special Programs team to support investigations on cryptocurrency used in cybercrimes.

“Following the flow of ransomware payments on the blockchain is instrumental for law enforcement to understand and dismantle ransomware operations,” Gronager said to Cointelegraph. “As paradoxical as it seems, it can actually be beneficial to investigators when bad actors choose to use cryptocurrency when committing crimes.”

The CEO cited Chainalysis’ contribution in investigating cybercrimes involving NetWalker, a ransomware operator that allegedly targeted hospitals during the pandemic and collected more than $25 million from ransom payments in 2020. In addition, the company looked into Russia-based business Suex OTC, recently targeted by the U.S. Treasury Department for allegedly allowing hackers to access cryptocurrency sent as payment for ransomware attacks. Chainalysis claimed that “tens of millions” worth of crypto payments from Suex’s funds came from addresses associated with different cybercrimes.

“Cryptocurrency is transparent, and with the right tools and the right talent, we can weed out bad actors and build a safer financial ecosystem,” said Gronager.

Related: US Senator Warren introduces bill to study crypto’s role in ransomware

Chainalysis has grown significantly in the last year, receiving support from both the United States government and private sector. In June, the company reached a $4.2 billion valuation following a $100 million funding round led by global investment manager Coatue.

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