Crypto Consultant Kidnapped in Thailand for $1 Million Bitcoin Ransom

Michael LaVere
  • Singaporean crypto consultant Mark Cheng was kidnapped and tortured while on a business trip to Thailand.
  • Cheng was able to escape from his captors after paying S$1 million in bitcoin as ransom.

A Singaporean crypto consultant was kidnapped and tortured in Thailand after his captors demanded S$ 1 million (US$ 742,000) in bitcoin as ransom. 

According to a report by the South China Morning Post, Mark Cheng was recently kidnapped while on a business trip in Thailand. Cheng, alongside acquaintance Kim Lee Yao Wei, was approached by a group of masked men and forced into a nearby truck.

In a complaint filed authorities, Cheng claimed he recognized the pickup truck as belonging to an unnamed Thai actor he had met for drinks on several previous occasions. Once in the vehicle, Cheng was transported to a deserted location before being assaulted and tortured by his captives, who ordered him to pay millions wroth of Singaporea dollars in bitcoin as ransom. 

Cheng was able to escape from the kidnappers only after transferring S$1 million (US$ 742,418) in bitcoin. 

He told Singapore Chinese publication Lianhe Wanbao, 

One of them held the gun against the back of my head while the others stepped away. Fortunately, I know martial arts. I reached behind my head and grabbed the pistol, and then I fled.

Thai authorities have detained Cheng’s acquaintance Kim alongside three others who were thought to be involved in the abduction. 

Featured Image Credit: Photo by Lacie Slezak on Unsplash

IOTA Foundation to Reopen Mainnet by March 2 after $2 Million Hack

The IOTA Foundation, the non-profit organization behind the IOTA network, has announced it plans to reactivate the IOTA Network by March 2 after halting it over a $2 million hack.

According to the non-profit organization, it’s working on creating transition tools for users to transfer funds from their existing wallets to new ones so they can avoid any further losses and bring the network back online.

As CryptoGlobe reported, the IOTA Foundation turned off its Coordinator node, which is responsible for validating individual transactions on the network, earlier this month after users started reporting their funds were being stolen from the Trinity wallet, a wallet designed by the Foundation.

Since it turned the coordinator off, it has been working with law enforcement agencies, including the German Center for Cybercrime and the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, to identify the cause. A total of “8.55 Ti”, or $2.3 million worth of IOTA tokens were lost.

In a post-mortem report, the Foundation detailed the vulnerability was the result of an integration with a fiat-to-crypto onramp platform called MoonPay that was being used with the Trinity wallet. Its investigation found a hacker was able to take over MoonPay’s content distribution network, and using it infiltrated the Trinity Wallet to distribute malicious Software Development Kits (SDKs).

The Foundation’s internal analysis of affected Trinity caches found irrefutable proof that they had been compromised with one of several illicit versions of Moonpay’s software development kit (SDK), which was being loaded automatically from Moonpay’s servers (their content delivery network) when a user opened Trinity.

The attacker, according to the Foundation, made sure he avoided triggering cryptocurrency exchanges’ know-your-customer (KYC) checks when sending funds to cash out, keeping the threshold below $10,000.

The IOTA Foundation was, according to the report, only able to identify 50 victims from the attack, and doesn’t know exactly how many users were affected by the attack. As such, it’s asking those who used the Trinity desktop wallet to use a migration tool.

The organization’s move to shut down the Coordinator node and essentially bring the mainnet to a halt was a controversial one, as various cryptocurrency users are now on social media claiming the IOTA network is centralized.

Featured image via Pixabay.