Suspects Arrested for Allegedly Hacking Crypto Wallets in Istanbul, Turkey

On Friday November 2, renowned Turkish newspaper Hürriyet reported that the Cybercrime Department of the Turkish National Police had arrested eleven suspects on account of hacking crypto accounts. More than a whopping $80,000 was reported by victims as losses. Since the advent of Bitcoin and several other altcoins, the cryptocurrencies have amassed somewhat of a bad reputation because of the scams and frauds that have been erupting. Where many seek to incite a global adoption of cryptocurrencies and elevate its status as the premium medium for payments, incidents like these taking place every other day are certainly not going to help alleviate the stigma surrounding the digital currencies.

The article mentioned that a total of fourteen people had reported to local police that their crypto wallets had been breached and their Bitcoin transferred to various other wallets. As a result of the complaint the Istanbul police initiated an investigation against a group of hackers that allegedly infringed emails, data related to crypto wallets, and passwords belonging to the users.

Cybercrime unit agents along with special operations department Harekat Police, in joint raids, detained eleven suspects in various locations across Istanbul on October 26. One of the suspects was reportedly let go on the condition of remaining under continued “judicial control” while the rest of the detainees were still in custody.

Two fake identity cards, along with devices such as 2 memory sticks, 18 mobile phones and SIM cards, and other items were confiscated by the police from the alleged hackers. According to the Turkish prosecution the stolen Bitcoin was worth almost 437,000 Turkish Lira, which amounts to more than $80,000. The stolen crypto was moved to multiple accounts, by the hackers, in an attempt to hide their traces.

Investigations helped the cybercrime unit to identify some hackers by tracking new SIM cards that were registered to crypto exchange accounts by the hackers. Suspects attempting to collect the stolen assets form ATMs and banks, were also tracked by the police, owing to the multiple records from security cameras. The newspaper article mentioned that the investigation was still being continued and policemen were looking for more people who fell prey to the hackers.

Turkish citizens showed a spiked interest in buying decentralized cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin (BTC), triggered by the collapse of the Turkish Lira. The lira dropped by 50 percentage points against the U.S. dollar by August 2018. It was the Lira’s all-time low. Such a financial crises led to turkish, migrating from their fiat to the digitized currencies. It was the kind of situation which led to Bitcoins invention in the first place, when the big short took place in 2008, and called for such an invention to be brought forth.

Only a month ago in october a small cryptocurrency exchange based in Canada, MapleChange, was shut down as all of its funds which included 913 Bitcoins worth $6million were stolen by hackers. The significant number of hacks and thefts of digital currencies has seen a dramatic increase over the past few years owing to the high value and demand in market of Bitcoin (BTC).

Owing to the fact that Bitcoin was the first cryptocurrency, it value and demand are both high. Its supply however limited, has still not been exhausted in its entirety. Due to its high value tag many of the investors flocked towards cryptocurrencies as they started viewing it as a safe medium of investment. Lack of regulatory framework led to many of criminals and frauds to resort to them in order to sneak their money offshores.This is why the image of cryptocurrencies is tainted and as cases of theft related to crypto and Bitcoin keep pouring in, the hurdles in the way of a global adoption might keep piling up.

Hassaan Malik

Co-founder of BlockPublisher, Hassaan is a technologist at heart with a keen interest in blockchain, cryptos and traditional financial markets. Email: hassaan@blockpublisher.com, hassaanmalek@gmail.com

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