Police in the Chinese capital of Beijing have three suspects in custody who are alleged to have stolen digital assets including cryptocurrency worth an estimated 600 million yuan, which is the equivalent of $87 million.
The Chinese press have revealed that an organized gang of hackers has managed to pull off multiple cyber thefts of private and commercial cryptocurrency accounts, totaling around $87 million. It appears that the Chinese state media broke the story on Monday (20 August), revealing that cyber criminals had hacked their way to an estimated 600 million yuan’s worth of Bitcoin and other virtual currencies.
Investigation Began In March
According to local tabloid the Shaanxi Daily, back in March police in the northern Chinese city of Xian began an investigation following accusations made by a citizen who claimed he had been hacked and digital assets stolen. The victim, a man surnamed Zhang complained to the police that the hackers had remotely taken control of his computer and then stolen 100 million yuan ($14.5 million) worth of cryptocurrency. The stolen digital currency was made up of Bitcoin, Ethereum as well as other cryptocurrencies, the Chinese state news agency Xinhua reported.
The stolen crypto was then transferred to another location, creating a virtual trail and allowing the Chinese police to tail the loot to its new location. The trail led them the central province of Hunan, and directly to a suspect surnamed Zhou.
Individuals & Companies Robbed
From a safe distance, the police began to monitor the activities of Zhou. An investigation of Zhou’s recent communications led the police to two more alleged accomplices. Between them, the three detainees are believed to have stolen 600 million yuan by hacking the computers of individuals and companies this year.
It is not clear when the police actually arrested the three men. The police investigation is still ongoing, with officers as equally skilled in the dark arts of hacking and other cyber-crimes as the criminals they chase. It took the combined efforts of police from three provinces working together to take down the suspects who are currently in custody.
A reason why the arrests were not made public sooner may have been due to a deliberate effort by the Chinese police not to spook any other hackers “out in the field.” However, now that the Chinese press has effectively broken the story, any additional hackers will now be “in the wind”, and far harder to track down.