Six Arrested in $27 Million Cryptocurrency Theft

European authorities this week announced the arrest of 6 individuals in connection with a €24 million ($27.2 million) cryptocurrency theft.

Five men and one woman were arrested in simultaneous warrants at their homes in the UK (Charlcombe, Lower Weston and Staverton), and the Netherlands (Amsterdam and Rotterdam).

The authorities also seized a large number of electronic devices, equipment and valuable assets.

The arrested individuals are believed to have committed computer misuse act offences and to have engaged in money laundering activities. 

The arrests were made following a 14-month long joint investigation by the UK’s South West Regional Cyber Crime Unit (SW RCCU), the Dutch police (Politie), Europol, Eurojust, and the UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA). 

The investigation targeted the theft of crypto-currency from Bitcoin users. At least 4,000 victims in 12 countries are believed to have been impacted. 

The scheme involved the use of typosquatting, a method where cybercriminals spoof or create an imitation of a well-known online cryptocurrency exchange, in an attempt to trick users into providing their login credentials, to gain access to their Bitcoin wallets and steal funds.

The UK authorities identified possible suspects in the Netherlands in February 2018 and referred the case to the European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) and the Joint Cybercrime Action Taskforce (J-CAT), which provided support and coordination for the operation.

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Ionut Arghire is an international correspondent for SecurityWeek.

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