Australian Woman Arrested For Theft Of 100,000 XRP From Elderly Man

An Australian woman was arrested for allegedly stealing 100,000 XPR worth almost half a million dollars at the time of the crime from an elderly man.


Sydney police have arrested a 23-year-old woman accused of being behind Australia’s biggest cryptocurrency theft case to date.

The woman is said to have stolen $65,000 worth of crypto from a 56-year-old man, though that amount was a staggering $450,000 at the time of the theft in January.

Media reports indicate that riot police raided the suspect’s parents’ home at Epping on Thursday, October 23, and arrested the 23-year-old woman. During the search that followed the raid, police confiscated several electronic devices and documents.

It is not known if the woman acted alone or she was part of a wider team. A court has granted her bail, and she expected to appear before a judge at Burwood Local Court on November 19.

What happened

Local news outlet Brisbane Times has reported that the suspect stole the digital assets after hacking into her victim’s email account.

In an attack that happened in January 2018, the hacker exploited the two-step authentication feature, changed the password and verified it using her mobile number.

It is alleged that she was able to login to the victim’s email accounts, accessed the crypto wallet and sent about 100,000 XRP to one of her exchange accounts in China.

The suspect converted the XRP tokens into Bitcoins before transferring the BTC to several wallets.

Reports say that although the victim eventually got access to their account after struggling for two days, he found his crypto accounts wiped clean.

Significant crime for Australian cybercrime unit

According to Cybercrime Squad commander Arthur Katsogiannis, the theft is a “significant crime,” the first of its kind the country’s law enforcement agencies have been investigating.

The commander told reporters:

“It’s a very significant crime and it’s the first we know of its type in Australia where an individual has been arrested and charged for the technology-enabled theft of cryptocurrency,”

He, however, cautioned that the country is likely to see more of such arrests in the future, with increased hackings within the crypto industry likely to become a significant threat to interested investors.

He added:

“Personal information is a very valuable commodity to the criminals and it should be treated and secured as you would cash.”

Rising cases of Cryptocurrency-related crimes

The crypto industry continues to attract more attention as an investment tool with expectations high for a price boom similar to the 2017 surge.

Unfortunately, the more crypto becomes widely accepted, the more cases of hacking and fraud there is.

Hacks or cyber attacks in crypto are not a new phenomenon. Both individuals and exchanges have been hit, with millions lost. While some hacker groups like the infamous Lazarus enjoy state sponsorship, many other attacks are carried out by individuals.

In the last 18 months, over $882 million worth of crypto has been lost via hacks with reports suggesting Lazarus is responsible for $571 million or 65% of the stolen funds.

In August, Chinese Police arrested three men accused of stealing nearly $87.3 million worth of cryptocurrency. In September, Oklahoma police arrested two men for allegedly stealing over $14 million of the token CMCT from IT firm Crowd Machine.

As well as the infamous Mt.Gox, this year has seen a few cases of cyber attacks with millions lost. The record-breaking hack at Japan’s Coincheck exchange where NEM coins worth $530 million was stolen and the $60 million stolen from Zaif crypto exchange are some of the high profile cases.

Most of the attacks utilize traditional methods like spear phishing and malware, and especially vulnerable are those who use the same login details and passwords across several online accounts.

While hackers can target any given coin, the most targeted are Bitcoin (BTC) and Ripple (XRP). Monero (XMR) remains the most popular coin for those who carry out cryptojacking attacks.

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