Finland’s National Bureau of Investigation has reportedly tracked Monero (XMR) transactions to identify a ransomware hacker, despite the privacy coin’s anonymous features.
According to a local report, Julius Aleksanteri Kivimäki is on trial for allegedly hacking a mental health firm’s database in Oct 2022 and demanding 40 Bitcoin (BTC) ransom. When unpaid, he targeted patients individually and received crypto payments swapped into Monero.
Police say the hacker sent funds to exchange without KYC, swapped into Monero, then to Binance, and back to BTC across various wallets. Authorities maintained confidentiality but revealed successful on-chain tracking.
Monero is considered untraceable due to privacy technologies like RingCT, ring signatures, and stealth addresses. However, this case demonstrates crypto forensics can follow the money trail even with anonymity features.
Past research also found Monero transactions traceable before 2017. These challenge notions of complete anonymity and may prompt re-evaluation of privacy coins. Kivimäki’s trial highlights enforcement capabilities to de-anonymize illicit activities on blockchains.