Three Chinese citizens who allegedly stole $87 million in Bitcoin (BTC) and other cryptocurrencies were recently arrested by police officials in China, according to a news report by local news outlet Xinhua.
The three suspects from China’s capital Beijing and its Changchun and Hunan provinces were taken into police custody on August 15th, after a 30-day investigation by local authorities. These arrests have reportedly been linked to a complaint filed by a Chinese citizen with the surname Zhang.
In March, Zhang had registered a complaint with the police department in Xi’an, the capital of the Shaanxi province in central China. The Chinese resident claimed that digital currency worth about $14.5 million had been stolen from his crypto account after his computer was hacked.
$87 Million In Cryptocurrency Stolen
According to police reports, local authorities have now managed to identify a suspect, with the last name Zhou, who may have hacked into Zhang’s computer and stolen his crypto assets. Police investigators noted that Zhou’s online activities were tracked with the help of several unnamed local internet companies.
Notably, the investigation also led to the arrest of two other Chinese hackers who are suspected of stealing millions of dollars worth of cryptocurrency by breaking into the personal computers of various other local residents.
In total, digital currencies valued at around $87 million (or 600 million Chinese yuan) has been reported to be stolen from crypto accounts belonging to private local corporations and individuals. Chinese authorities believe that the three identified suspects might be responsible for the theft.
Although police investigations are still ongoing, the large amount of cryptocurrency allegedly stolen raises serious concerns, as there are now numerous cases of cybercriminals targeting digital currency investors.
Cryptocurrency Cyberattacks Increasing Worldwide
As CryptoGlobe reported, online hackers are now monitoring over 2.3 million cryptocurrency addresses. These hackers were found to have been using malware programs to alter the intended recipient’s crypto address to one belonging to them. This malicious activity has reportedly led to huge amounts of digital currency being stolen, as the payments are sent to the cybercriminals’ accounts, instead of the intended recipients.
According to a recent research report by a cybersecurity firm, the majority of cryptocurrency cyberattacks occur in China, the United States, and Russia. And, they are largely due to “underestimating” online hackers and “disregard” for basic security measures.
The report by IB-Group noted that most of the compromised crypto accounts they analyzed had been hacked due to the users having easy-to-guess or simple passwords.
Other “attack vectors” mentioned by the security firm included crypto exchanges having insecure user databases and phishing attacks. Ruslan Yusufov, Director for Special Projects at Group-IB, stated that “the significant amounts of already stolen funds signals that the industry is not ready to defend itself and protect its users.”