Vietnamese Crypto Mining CEO Flees With $35 Million of Funds

Avi Rosten

A Vietnamese crypto-CEO has fled with over $35 million worth of investor funds in what appears to be yet another scam to hit Asia.

According to reports in the local Vnexpress, Le Minh Tam, CEO of cryptocurrency mining company Sky Mining – based in the capital city of Ho Chi Minh – disappeared last Monday along with the company's funds.

Worried investors who turned up at the company’s head office in Phu Nhuan District found the building shut, the nameplate removed and all 600 mining rigs at the company’s factory nearby had been taken away.

Publishing a note last Wednesday on Facebook, the CEO apologised for “everything,” claiming that due to the unpredictability of the market:

My last resort is to stay hidden from public to protect my life.

Telling investors that they should speak to the company to reclaim the lost funds – the CEO has allegedly simply absconded with the money himself, leaving only the empty office.

Attracting investors to its mining operation with promised profits of up to 300%, the company reportedly claimed to be the largest cryptocurrency mining company in Vietnam.

With board members themselves claiming “we are victims too” and setting up a 16-person temporary board to help investors, deputy chairman Le Minh Hien explained:

[The board] has reported this to the police and showed evidence that we are not guilty.

Vietnamese Scams

This latest scam, however, seems to have been relatively small fry for Vietnam - with recent reports that a prominent IT firm - Modern Tech - allegedly duped 32,000 unsuspecting investors out of $647 million (15 trillion VND) via a cryptocurrency ponzi scheme in April.

With Vietnam’s Central Bank recently agreeing to suspend cryptocurrency miner imports in an attempt to “avoid harming local consumers,” this latest alleged fraud will likely deepen the authorities’ suspicion of the crypto-mining industry.

Browser Extentions Are Trying to Steal Your Bitcoin, Says Casa CEO

Will Heasman

Casa CEO, Jeremy Welch has expressed concerns about, malicious browser extensions, noting that some may pose a risk to users' bitcoin holdings. 

Addressing a crowded conference room during this weekend's Baltic Honeybadger meeting in Riga, Welch urged proper due diligence when it came to bitcoin and browser security. 

Browser extensions impose major risks, and these risks haven’t been discussed until this point... Make sure you don’t expose your bitcoin addresses anywhere.

Somewhat unbeknownst to any casual peruser of the internet, dangers lurk around pretty much any URL. Browser extensions are perhaps the most insidious element, containing trackers to monitor user information and gather data. While these may not necessarily be menacing in themselves, they can provide scammers with a great resource to expose users to further threat. 

Speaking further on the matter, Welch elaborated on several examples, including a seemingly harmless extension that provides wallpapers depicting motivational quotes. In reality, this outwardly innocuous add-on is actually malware stealing KYC data as you fill in online compliance forms. Such threats can appropriate identification such as passports via code which is later portrayed as a graphic depiction.  

You got a nice background here, and you don’t realize that your browser is actually dumping data

Moreover, Welch explained how some extensions allow the diversion of funds, altering a receiving address and channeling it to the hacker's own.

Even if wallpaper apps aren't your thing, you may be surprised to learn that Welch highlighted more mainstream iterations, such as editing app, Grammarly, as well as the Joule extension for lightning transactions.  

The issues remain that there is no real way to know which browsers are dependable and which are not. As Welch notes, something as simple as a software update could prove to destabilize the security of a browser extension and provide access for bad actors. 

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