Ukraine arrests cryptojacker in major Europol joint operation

In this post:

  • Ukrainian authorities, supported by Europol, arrested a 29-year-old individual involved in a major cryptojacking operation.
  • The operation in Mykolaiv, Ukraine, resulted from a collaboration between Europol and a cloud service provider.
  • The suspect allegedly compromised over 1,500 cloud accounts and created over one million virtual computers for crypto-mining.

In a significant breakthrough in the fight against cryptocurrency-related cybercrime, Ukrainian authorities, with support from Europol, have arrested a 29-year-old individual accused of a large-scale cryptojacking operation. The operation on January 9 in Mykolaiv, Ukraine, resulted from collaborative efforts between Europol and an undisclosed cloud service provider.

Ukraine busts major cryptojacking operation

The suspect, whose identity remains undisclosed, is accused of illegally mining cryptocurrencies by compromising over 1,500 cloud accounts. This sophisticated scheme involved the creation of more than one million virtual computers, leveraging these resources for extensive crypto-mining activities. In a statement released on January 12, Europol described the operation as a ‘sophisticated cryptojacking scheme.

Investigations reveal that the suspect had gained administrative privileges in these cloud accounts, a breach that allowed the establishment of a large-scale mining operation. The illegally mined cryptocurrencies, amounting to over $2 million (€1.8 million), were reportedly transferred using TON cryptocurrency wallets. The Ukrainian cyber police, pivotal in the operation, conducted searches across three properties triggered by a tip-off from the involved cloud service provider.

The successful apprehension of the suspect showcases the effectiveness of international collaboration in combating cybercrime. Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) set up a virtual command post to provide essential analysis and forensic support to the Ukrainian National Police. This cooperative approach underscores the increasing global concern over the rise of cryptocurrency theft and the evolving sophistication of such criminal activities.

The incident in Ukraine is not an isolated case in the realm of crypto-related crimes. In June of the previous year, Russian nationals were charged with hacking the Mt. Gox cryptocurrency exchange and operating the illicit BTC-e exchange. These charges relate to a massive 647,000 bitcoins laundered following the Mt. Gox breach, highlighting the global scale of cryptocurrency cybercrime.

Global concerns and the need for enhanced cybersecurity

This latest arrest in Ukraine adds to the growing list of significant crypto heists. In 2023 alone, crypto hackers stole over $1 billion through 75 hacks, a notable figure despite being lower than the $3 billion stolen in 2022. This trend and the overall market downturn for cryptocurrencies raise alarms about the industry’s resilience to criminal activities and the need for more robust regulatory oversight.

The landscape of crypto hacking has evolved, with hackers now targeting not just direct theft but also utilizing computer resources for mining, particularly focusing on privacy coins like Monero (XMR). This change in tactics underlines the need for enhanced cybersecurity measures and increased public awareness.

Disclaimer. The information provided is not trading advice. Cryptopolitan.com holds no liability for any investments made based on the information provided on this page. We strongly recommend independent research and/or consultation with a qualified professional before making any investment decision.

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