By participating in a ‘summit’ of CEOs of The Wall Street Journal, William Burns, director of the Central Intelligence Agency, acknowledged on Monday that the body in charge has its sights on the crypto market and is working in that area, thereby confirming rumors about the involvement of US intelligence in the world. of cryptocurrencies.
“My predecessor had started it,” Burns confessed, in apparent reference to former acting CIA director David Cohen, although it could also be John Brennan, Mike Pompeo or Gina Haspel, bearing in mind that all of them were in charge of the agency in sometime in the last five years.
The previous team, he said, “launched a number of cryptocurrency-focused projects,” so they set out to “observe second and third order consequences“as well as helping colleagues in other government departments to” provide robust intelligence “on what they were seeing.
In this way, the director of the CIA responded to the question of whether its experts are capable of stopping extortion attacks of the type ‘ransomware‘carried out from abroad, that is, those that infect a device and make it impossible to function until the victim pays a certain ransom, which cybercriminals usually demand in bitcoins.
Burns responded that the challenges presented by the crypto market “could have a huge impact” on the US, adding that understanding how cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology work is “an important priority” for the CIA, requiring of “resources and attention”.
While he did not share details about how the agency intends to counter cyberattacks of this type, he hinted that they seek to reach the financial structures of criminals who use cryptocurrencies for extortion.