The unfortunate breakout of crypto thefts keeps doing the rounds, and the latest person to have been arrested in that vein is a 23 year old woman in Sydney, who has allegedly stolen 10,000 units of XRP from the account of a 56 year old man. The arrest was made in Epping, after extensive investigations by the local authorities, and by executing a search warrant issued earlier.
The stolen XRP amounts approximately to $450,000, as at the time the victim purchased it, it was priced at about $3.18. Since hitting its peak in the start of 2018, the currency has lost 90% of its value, meaning that the stolen XRP equals to approximately $65,000, in the present day.
The hack originally was made on the victim’s email account in January, and he stated to the authorities that he found himself locked out of his account for two days. When he got the control of his account back, he noticed that his XRP balance had dropped to nothing.
The woman, who was transferred to Ryde Police Station, was granted conditional bail, and has been ordered to appear in front of a local court on the 19th of November. She, reportedly, after gaining access to the victim’s email, activated 2-factor verification after changing his password, subsequently transferring the ripple to a Chinese exchange, and having it converted into Bitcoin. Computers, phones, and documents were confiscated by the police during the raid.
Even though the incident is the first of its nature, thefts of such nature may become part of the norm, opined Arthur Katsogiannis, the commander of the Cyber crime Unit. He said that enough importance isn’t given to our email addresses and their security, and people do not realize that if they lose access to their emails, it can prove to be disastrous. He encouraged the public to use multiple levels of email protection, or at least a “minimum of two-factor authentication”.
As concerns related to the security and privacy around digital assets grow, it is evident that steps have to be taken to alleviate the issue of crypto theft. It was previously reported that $1.1 billion has been stolen in cryptocurrency, in 2018, and that too in just the year’s first half. Digital currency exchanges were the thieves’ most preferred target, as 27% of the attacks were carried out on those. The first ever crypto theft took place in Mt. Gox exchange in Japan, when reportedly 850,000 units of BTC were stolen, in 2014. Another huge theft was reported in Japan in January 2018, as cryptocurrency worth $530 million was stolen from Coincheck, another exchange. This created a lot of buzz, and BTC soon dropped by $9,000 to $11,000, after this incident. Prior to that, in December, Youbit, a South Korean exchange, lost approximately $70 million, reported to be 17% of its total digital assets. More recently, in September 2018, Japanese exchange Zaif was hit for $60 million in Bitcoin, Bitcoin cash, and Monacoin. The exchange mentioned that although the value of the BTC stolen had been approximated, they were yet to put a figure on the BTC cash and Monacoin stolen in the theft executed through compromising hot wallets. They site the closed down servers for the time being as the reason for not being able to ascertain the value of the stolen crypto components, as they aim to have proper security in place when the servers restart.
Businesses and firms were found to be the second most targeted entities by the “crypto terrorists”, with 21% thefts happening in them. Most of the incidents involve ransomware as hackers breach the networks and records of companies, and then ask for ransom in crypto. When it comes to what currency they ask for, 44% of the total demand is for Monero, as its privacy protocols and difficulty in tracing it. The transaction charges involved with it are also low. The demand for BTC in ransomware added up to 10%, whereas Ehereum fared marginally better at 11%, according to Carbon Black.
Country wise, The United States is the place where the highest number of theft attacks has taken place with 24 digital asset thefts, China follows suit with 10, and 8 incidents took place in the United Kingdom.
Amidst the cries for regulation, the increasing number of thefts may turn into a reason for potential crypto investors to turn away, but as of now, the interest in the presently bearish market does not seem to be wavering.