UK police arrest hackers that stole $100 million by SIM swapping.
These arrests are a part of an international investigation.
According to Europol and the UK’s National Crime Agency, UK police have arrested eight men as a part of an investigation into a $100 million cryptocurrency theft.
The attacks were conducted in 2020, and it originated in the UK; the victims were based in the US and were “well-known influencers, sports stars, musicians, and their families,” the NCA states.
The US, UK, and Europol have collaborated on investigating authorities in Belgium, Malta, and Canada.
The hackers used a SIM-swap, which offloaded identifying info from victims’ phones’ SIM cards onto the attackers. Once they got inside, they stole directly from Bitcoin wallets and Bank accounts.
The head of operations for the NCA’s National Cyber Crime Unit, Paul Creffield, stated that “those arrested face prosecution for offenses under the [UK’s] Computer Misuse Act, as well as fraud and money laundering as well as an extradition to the USA for prosecution.”
SIM-swaps aren’t a new problem in the crypto industry – in 2018, the investor Michael Terpin sued AT&T after losing $23 million in Bitcoin to a SIM swap.
The crypto criminals seem to like going after celebrities, too. Last July, the attackers hacked the Twitter accounts of prominent politicians, corporations, and influencers – including Barack Obama and Elon Musk were among them – and fooled many of their followers into sending them Bitcoin.
Furthermore, according to data from blockchain analytics, crypto thieves go after the DeFi protocols and use ransomware to prey on vulnerable digital infrastructures like those in schools and hospitals.
Over $10 billion was linked to criminal crypto addresses in 2020 alone.
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