Multiple law enforcement agencies across Europe have conducted a joint operation to arrest six individuals for their involvement in a €24 million (around $27.2 million) cryptocurrency theft.
The operation was led by the UK’s South West Regional Cyber Crime Unit (SW RCCU) and received support from the Dutch police (Politie), Europol, Eurojust, and the UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA). According to the press release, the arrests were made after a 14-month long investigation.
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“The investigation relates to typosquatting, where a well-known online cryptocurrency exchange was ‘spoofed’ – or recreated to imitate the genuine site – to gain access to victims’ Bitcoin wallets, stealing their funds and login details,” the official announcement stated.
An organized operation to steal crypto
According to law enforcement, the organized theft had victimized around 4,000 crypto holders spreading across 12 countries and believe that the number might increase.
Arrests of five men and one woman fraudsters were made with simultaneous warrants in the United Kingdom and two cities in the Netherlands.
The investigation was initiated by British authorities and, as some of the culprits were living in the Netherlands, the case was referred to the European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) and the Joint Cybercrime Action Taskforce (J-CAT) of the Europol in February 2018.
Cracking down illegal activities
As the prices of digital assets are bouncing back, the illegal ways of acquiring digital currencies are also ramping up. Last month, multiple European agencies teamed up to close down the lucrative operation of Bestmixer.io, a cryptocurrency mixing service. It was was one of the three largest cryptocurrency tumblers available in the market and generated revenue of around $200 million within a span of one year.
Earlier this month, Finance Magnates reported that a fake version of crypto trading bot maker Cryptohopper was distributing malware to its visitors’ computers to steal their exchange credentials, along with mining malware.