CNN Outlines How Mueller Used Bitcoin to Find Russian Operatives Interference in US Elections
According to a recent report released by CNN Business, Russian operatives used cryptocurrencies in their efforts to interfere in the 2016 U.S. election in the United States. This is what Special Counsel Robert Mueller informed in its final report of his investigation.
Russia Used Cryptocurrencies To Interfere In US Elections
As per the report, the systems that were used to hack the Democratic Party were paid for using Bitcoin (BTC). These were online hosting services that supported sites with hacked materials. The main intention was to spread disinformation to American voters before the presidential elections.
Although the transactions cannot be identified, it is possible to analyze the whole blockchain and see which are the older transactions connected to just a wallet. Russian agents aimed at using the perceived anonymity of virtual currencies. Although it seemed effective to work without depending on traditional financial institutions, Mueller’s investigation could gather all the information necessary about it.
During an interview with CNN Business, the blockchain developer Tim Cotten, trading Bitcoins on exchanges requires users to have Bitcoin wallets tied to an email address. Federal investigators were able to have access to these accounts that were used in operation.
“Rather than having to search the blockchain for clues, they already had all of the receipts demonstrating which accounts were under GRU’s control,” commented Mr. Cotten.
Russians were also using false identities in setting up some of the accounts. Mueller’s team informed that they have used the same accounts to purchase servers and also website domains that were linked to the hacking of the Democratic Party.
At the same time, the Russian agents were using a virtual private network (VPN) in order to obscure the location from where they were accessing the internet. These VPNs were also purchased using Bitcoin. Additionally, Mueller’s report informed the users logged in to the Twitter account @Guccifer_2, which has been communicating with Wikileaks and other relevant accounts.
Although virtual currencies can be used to perform criminal activities, they are also helping users in some countries to protect their savings from oppressive governments or fight against hyperinflation, such as in Venezuela. Additionally, Bitcoin and other digital assets can be very useful for processing international transfers at a low cost and in a reliable way.