Robbed phone to steal virtual money

The London Police Crime Report (UK) shows that street criminals are combining both physical prowess and digital knowledge to steal victims’ cryptocurrency.

In another case, a man was approached by a group of people and offered to buy cocaine. This person agrees to follow to make the purchase. They cornered the victim against a wall, forced him to unlock the app with his face, and transferred £6,000 Ripple (a virtual currency). One victim reported that, while taking an Uber near Liverpool Street station, the robbers came to power. forcing them to hand over the phone. After returning it, the victim discovered that £5,000 worth of Ethereum had disappeared from their account.

A third victim said he was vomiting at the foot of the bridge when a robber came, forced him to unlock the phone with his fingerprint, then changed the security settings and stole £28,700, including cryptocurrency.

The fourth victim reported having his card and phone stolen in the evening at a pub, resulting in £10,000 being withdrawn from the investment platform. This person believes the thieves saw him enter the pin code.

David Gerard, author of the book “Attack on the 50 Foot Blockchain,” calls this a form of “cryptocurrency exploitation.” Unlike bank transfers, since cryptographic transfers are irreversible, this form is increasingly attractive to thieves.

“If I get robbed and force a bank transfer, the bank can track where the money went and take measures to get it back. You can reverse the transaction. With virtual currency, if I transfer it to a crypto wallet, you cannot claim it back.”

According to the author, the risk is exacerbated by many people transacting on smartphones without being as vigilant as cash. “People keep a bunch of stupid money in crypto accounts. They don’t think it’s money.”

Gurvais Grigg, a 23-year veteran of the FBI, is now the Director of Public Sector Information Technology at research firm Chainalysis, which helps governments and financial institutions track cryptocurrencies. The nature of cryptocurrencies – where transactions are recorded on the blockchain – means police should theoretically be able to track stolen funds, he said.

“In order to transfer stolen crypto, they must provide a wallet address and most will reuse that address in the future. You will need to put it on an exchange if you want to convert crypto to fiat.”

This creates a digital trail that investigators can and often use to track down multi-million dollar cryptocurrency attacks. However, they have little incentive to use that resource to track smaller cases. An individual who loses a small amount of money may not get the attention of the police or law enforcement.

Cryptocurrency looting occurred in the second half of 2021 in a relatively small area of ​​London, run by London police. This is not the first time that people have been forced to transfer crypto by force.

In 2021, a student in Kent said eight people broke into his residence and forced him to transfer £68,000 in Bitcoin. In the same year, an American technology businessman reported to the police about being attacked by masked men at his home in Madrid. They threatened with knives and guns before disappearing with millions of EUR in Bitcoin.

Cryptocurrency robberies present a new challenge to the police. Phil Ariss, the head of the crypto group under the National Sheriff’s Council’s cybercrime program, said police have received more training in crypto-criminals. Police are also trying to inform the public to be wary of accessing crypto accounts.

“You’re not going to walk down the street, holding a stack of £50 and counting them. This should also apply to people with digital assets,” he advised.

According to Du Lam

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