Five arrested, one of them in Tenerife, for the theft of six million euros in cryptocurrencies

The Civil Guard has arrested five people for hacking a cryptocurrency custody company and stealing six million euros in cryptocurrencies from thousands of investors in the first case resolved in Spain of these characteristics and in an operation carried out in the provinces of Santa Cruz from Tenerife, Vizcaya and Barcelona.

This is the 3COIN operation in which a group of cybercriminals has been dismantled that in the summer of 2020 attacked a Spanish company dedicated to the custody of cryptocurrencies and that materialized the aforementioned robbery, reports the Civil Guard.

Investigators found that the source of the attack was an illegal download by a company employee of a movie from a pirate media portal.

The files that made up that film contained a highly sophisticated computer virus that allowed attackers to gain complete control of the employee’s computer and use it as cover to gain access to the company.

This download occurred more than half a year before the events occurred and allowed the attackers to know in detail all the internal processes of the company and prepare their actions.

The attack occurred in the middle of summer, once the members of the group knew all the procedures, characteristics and structure of the company and through an interposed computer network they gave the cryptocurrency transaction order worth six million euros.

The stolen cryptocurrencies were transferred to wallets under the control of the attackers, where they were immobilized for more than six months so as not to attract the attention of the police.

Once they felt safe, they began moving cryptocurrencies using a complex network of money laundering electronic wallets.

The agents were able to identify in Barcelona the alleged operator of the illegal downloading website from which the computer virus that led to the attack was distributed.

Other avenues of technological investigation allowed the identification of four more people who allegedly received part of the stolen cryptocurrencies, all of them with no apparent relationship.

For this reason, agents against Cybercrime of the Central Operational Unit (UCO) of the Civil Guard carried out four searches in Tenerife, Bilbao and Barcelona and proceeded to arrest these four people who had computer material of great interest to the investigation, as well as cryptocurrencies worth 900,000 euros related to the theft.

Analyzing all the material intervened in these records, the agents verified traces of the alleged authorship of the cyberattack by one of the detainees and located the Trojan-type malware used, the initial movements of the stolen cryptocurrencies and the payment to the owner of the page download website from which the virus was launched.

Once the alleged authorship of the cyberattack was verified, the investigation focused on identifying the possible recipients of the stolen cryptocurrencies and their link to the first, and the researchers reached another man who received at least 500,000 euros in stolen cryptocurrency.

In the last phase of the operation, this week, another person was investigated who exercised control over the alleged author of the cyberattack through the consumption of drugs linked to rituals such as that of the bufo toad.

The Civil Guard warns that the world of cryptocurrency, despite its many positive aspects, entails different dangers for both users and service companies in the sector.

He highlights that the full willingness of the company victim of the cyberattack and the collaboration of the private cybersecurity sector have been key to the resolution of this case.

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