Europol has arrested three Dutch people and three British people. They are suspected of having stolen 27 million dollars (24 million euros) in cryptocurrency. The European intelligence service cooperated with the regional Cyber Crime Unit in the southwest of the United Kingdom, the Dutch police, Eurojust and the British National Crime Agency (NCA).
Four thousand victims
The six arrested made counterfeit websites from existing websites with a similar name. They are suspected of having mainly stolen bitcoins and a little bit of ether. At least four thousand people from at least twelve countries are victims.
The Europol press release states that the hackers used typosquatting. The fake website they delighted in has a small, common spelling mistake in the url. So they gamble on users who are wrong when typing in a web address.
Europol therefore reported that at least four thousand people were mistaken in the web address and logged in. This gave the hackers access to the wallets and the corresponding credits.
Investigation is still ongoing
The six suspects are suspected of money laundering and crimes related to computer breach, the investigation into the theft is still ongoing. Europol has even more suspects in mind and hopes to be able to arrest them. The three British men were arrested in their own home in Charlcombe, Lower Weston and Staverton. The two Dutch men and Dutch women were arrested in Amsterdam and Rotterdam.
Europol has not disclosed the website in question. Cointelegraph suggests that it may be Cryptohopper. The news site writes that the alarm bells were ringing from their malware software on a clone website of exchange Cryptohopper. They even used the same logo to mislead users. A program was then downloaded and installed. This program downloads and exploits mining and clipping trojans that are designed to steal cryptocurrency. This has not been confirmed by the European security services.
Bitcoin is safe
This news item is not intended to indicate that bitcoin is unsafe. The network is secure and cannot be taken over by hackers. In the above case is a concatenation of human errors and a counterfeit website. That is separate from bitcoin. Read more about why bitcoin is safe here.