Hackers and other online criminals will continue to pay close attention to Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. In London, police officials arrested one particular hacker and seized $667,000 worth of Bitcoin in the process. It remains unclear what will happen to the confiscated Bitcoins, although it seems likely they will be auctioned off.
Another Bitcoin-related Arrest
It is evident criminals are drawn to Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies for many reasons. One of the main reasons for this is that many people perceive Bitcoin and similar currencies as being anonymous. In reality, however, Bitcoin itself lacks privacy and anonymity features, whereas a few other currencies – such as Dash, Monero, and Zcash – take a completely different approach.
Even so, criminals will try many different tactics to get their hands on cryptocurrency in one way or another. A hacker known as Grant West has successfully attacked dozens of companies around the globe using phishing scams. By using this method of attack, he was able to extricate sensitive financial data, which was then sold on dark web marketplaces in exchange for Bitcoin.
Evidence of West’s crimes has been uncovered by the London Metropolitan Police. More specifically, they linked at least 17 different cyber attacks to him. Those attacks were directed at many major UK-based enterprises such as Sainsbury’s and Asda, as well as a Finnish Bitcoin exchange. It’s quite an impressive list, although it is certainly possible that a lot more attacks have yet to be documented.
In a raid on West’s home, police officials also recovered a memory card which contained 78 million usernames and passwords. It is unclear what platforms this information pertains to exactly, but it is safe to assume these details were sold on the dark web in exchange for Bitcoin. Officials have not commented on which dark web markets were used to sell the stolen information over the past few years.
With over $660,000 worth of Bitcoin having been seized, another issue will need to be addressed. It is unclear what the Metropolitan Police will do with this cryptocurrency. In most cases, such holdings are auctioned off to the highest bidder. However, this is the first case of its kind for the 188-year-old department, which means they will first have to devise a course of action.
Unfortunately, it’s evident that criminals will continue to pay attention to Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. That is rather worrisome, as the world’s leading cryptocurrency has a lot of negative associations with criminal activity already. At the same time, this arrest shows that Bitcoin is not a suitable tool for criminals, as they will be brought to justice eventually.