The Bulgarian Specialized Prosecutor’s Office and Directorate-General for Combating Organized Crime have arrested three hackers who have allegedly stolen around $5 million in cryptocurrency, according to a report by local publication 24 Chasa.
An investigation into the scam was launched five months ago after the first few cases came to light. According to the authorities, the hackers used specialized software and employed advanced, innovative hacking tactics.
Two of the criminals are currently in custody on the orders of the Specialized Criminal Court, while the third is out on bail.
According to the report, the Bulgarian police have managed to seize digital currency that adds up to $3 million, as well as the hackers’ equipment, which includes computers, flash drives, hardware portfolios (for data storage), and notebooks filled with data on multiple cryptocurrency accounts (of both real and fictitious individuals) used in the scam. In addition, the prosecutors seized a car that was reportedly bought with the stolen money and worth around 60,000 Bulgarian leva (close to $35,000).
Owing to the relative anonymity they offer, cryptocurrencies have become a popular choice among cyber criminals. A report released last month by US-based cyber security company CipherTrace revealed that crypto theft via hacking resulted in more than $900 million being stolen in the first nine months of 2018, which represents an increase of nearly 250% from last year.
Last week, scammers dispatched an email which appeared to have been sent from crypto exchange Uphold, offering a 15% off Black Friday discount on Bitcoin. In addition, a hacker in the United States managed to make off with $1 million after using a SIM-swapping tactic to gain illegal access to crypto accounts.