Turkish Cybercrime Unit Arrests 11 Suspects In Bitcoin Theft Scheme

Turkish police in the Istanbul Cybercrime Division arrested 11 people suspected of having been behind a string of hacks involving cryptocurrency accounts in which victims have allegedly lost more than $80,000 worth of cryptocurrency.

0

Turkish police in the Istanbul Cybercrime Division arrested 11 people suspected of having been behind a string of hacks involving cryptocurrency accounts in which victims have allegedly lost more than $80,000 worth of cryptocurrency.

In a newspaper report published November 2, 2018, major Turkish news outlet Hürriyet said that the country’s Cybercrime Division made the arrests after 14 individuals lodged complaints at local prosecution offices.

According to local news reports, the victims told local authorities that people suspected to be hackers had gained access to their cryptocurrency wallets via phishing emails before proceeding to transfer their Bitcoin (BTC) to other wallets.

Through the use of fake identities, the hackers were able to change the phone numbers associated with the cryptocurrency accounts in order to bypass the two-fact authentification.

Upon the filing of the complaints, Istanbul police are said to have narrowed down their investigation to a group of hackers. The group is alleged to have been responsible for a spate of attacks that targeted the victims’ emails, crypto wallet accounts, and passwords.

Cybercrime unit makes the arrests

It is reported that on October 26, the Turkish cybercrime unit conducted joint raids with the country’s Harekat police, a special operations department within the police force.

As a result, law enforcement agents were able to capture 11 individuals, with the arrests being made in multiple locations within Istanbul.

Sources say that of the 11 suspects to appear before a court; ten were booked into police custody, while one was reportedly released but placed under “judicial control.”

Following the raids and subsequent arrests, police are said to have seized two fake driver’s licenses and forged ID cards from the hackers. Other items of interest seized in the raid include a tablet, 6 laptops, 18 mobile phones, 22 SIM cards, and several memory sticks among other suspect items.

Bitcoin worth $80,000 stolen

Turkish prosecutors have said that the hackers managed to steal Bitcoin worth 437,000 Turkish lira, which is roughly over $80,000 at the current exchange rate.

After compromising their targets’ systems, the attackers are alleged to have moved their crypto loot to numerous accounts. The move was an attempt to make it difficult for anyone to uncover their tracks, and they intended to liquidate the bitcoin into fiat eventually.

Sources within the police department told the newspaper that investigators from the cybercrime unit were able to identify some of the suspects through their phones. The hackers used new SIM card numbers to register various crypto exchange accounts, which the police were able to track.

It is also reported that agents used multiple CCTV footage to track the suspects to local ATMs and seized them (hackers) as they tried to withdraw the stolen digital assets.

According to the Turkish newspaper, investigations into the hackings are ongoing, and police have asked anyone with information to report.

The Turkish lira has collapsed in the last several months, mostly driven by geopolitical uncertainty. That collapse has seen interest in cryptocurrency spike as people more move to safeguard against further declines.

Crypto thefts in 2018

Increased interest and use of digital assets like Bitcoin (BTC) has led to a spike in the number of thefts targeting crypto assets.

In August, police in California arrested a teenager who allegedly used SIM swapping to steal Bitcoin worth over $1 million. And in Oklahoma, police arrested a 21-year-old man accused of being a member of a group that stole $14 million in cryptocurrency from blockchain firm Crowd Machine.

In September, Japan’s National Police Agency published a report showing that cases of cryptocurrency theft had tripled in 2018 compared to 2017. Police recorded 158 cases of attacks on users and exchanges including on Coincheck and Zaif platforms.

In early October, another report claimed that the number of state-sponsored hacker groups had increased, with North Korea-backed Lazarus responsible for the theft of over $571 million worth of crypto in 2018.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.