In a joint operation with police forces from the U.K. and Germany, Europol arrested an individual they believe was responsible for the creation of a fake IOTA wallet seed generator which stole around $11 million worth of IOTA in 2017, Europol announced in a press release on January 23, 2019.
International Police Cooperation Finally Arrests IOTA Thief
The thief responsible for the creation of a fake IOTA wallet seed generator that stole around $11 million worth of the cryptocurrency in 2017 has finally been arrested. According to an official press release from Europol, the 36-year-old suspect was arrested on January 23, 2019, after more than a year of investigation.
The UK’s South East Regional Organised Crime Unit (SEROCU), the Hessen State Police in Germany, the UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA), and Europol all collaborated during the investigation, the release said.
The man in question was arrested by SEROCU members following a search warrant carried out at an address in the city of Oxford in Great Britain. Investigators seized a number of computers and electrical goods, alongside an unspecified amount of illegal drugs and cash.
Crypto Theft Is still Theft
According to Europol, the investigation began in early 2018 when the Hessen State Police received several reports from citizens indicating that money had been stolen from their cryptocurrency wallets. Upon further investigation, a malicious seed-generator running on iotaseed.io was discovered.
German authorities were quick to react, identifying a possible suspect behind the case in July 2018. As the suspect was residing in the U.K., the case was transferred to the Joint Cybercrime Action Taskforce (J-CAT) hosted at Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre (EC3). The analytical support the task force received from the Cybercrime Centre allowed it to coordinate the international cooperation between the different EU Member States involved.
The effort that went into the investigation gave hope to many in the crypto community, assuring them that while the industry is still young, crypto theft was still theft in the eyes of the law.
The cryptocurrency boom of 2017 put the industry on the map, but its rocketing growth came with a dark side – hundreds of millions of dollars worth of cryptocurrency was stolen from exchanges and wallets.
As time goes by, more arrests regarding crypto-thefts are expected to be made, which could bring the much-needed change to the issue of cybercrime.