The actions of US investigators prove again that the Internet is not a legal vacuum. Even the theft of Bitcoin and Co. is not without consequences there.
Several US authorities announced successes in the fight against cyber criminals on September 16. While the Treasury Department imposed sanctions on Russian Bitcoin thieves, the Justice Department reported a successful strike against a ring of Chinese and Malaysian hackers.
Millions worth of hack of Bitcoin exchanges
According to informationof the US Treasury Department, Danil Potekhin and Dmitrij Karasavidi carried out a large-scale phishing campaign between 2017 and 2018. They targeted the customers of two Bitcoin exchanges from the USA and one from abroad. As a result, the two hackers looted crypto assets worth at least 16.8 million US dollars.
To put their plan into action, Potekhin created websites that looked confusingly similar to actual Bitcoin exchanges. After the victims entered their login details, the thieves transferred their cryptocurrencies to other accounts. To cover her tracks, Karasavidi resorted to a variety of methods. For example, he used wallets that were linked to stolen identities and exchanged the assets for various cryptocurrencies.
The hackers also used the stolen funds to drive up the price of low capitalization altcoins. They then quickly repelled the coins. With this ‚pump and dump‘ strategy they brought in further profits.
Nonetheless, the US investigators discovered the two Bitcoin hackers. They confiscated the stolen assets and brought charges against Potekhin and his accomplices. The US Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin promised to make himself strong in the fight against cyber crime in the future:
The Treasury Department will continue to use our powers to target cyber criminals and will continue to advocate the safe use of new technology in the financial sector.
Cyber Crime made in China
The US Department of Justice and the FBI reportedtwo Malaysian businessmen were arrested on the same day. They conspired with a group of Chinese hackers who, in addition to stealing data, also smuggled cryptojacking and ransomware software onto their victims‘ devices.
The hacker collective carried out attacks on the computers of over 100 video game developers, social media companies and other companies. However, they also focused on computers from universities, governments, NGOs and devices from activists from Hong Kong . To fend off further attacks, Microsoft developed a software solution in cooperation with the Ministry of Justice.
The five Chinese, some of whom were charged a year ago, are still at large. One of them is said to have boasted of ties to China’s interior ministry. Jeffrey A. Rosen, Deputy Attorney General of the USA, criticized China’s rulers in his statement: