Cryptocurrency extortion cases are on the rise in the business districts of the British capital. Thieves use physical threats to obtain the phones of passers-by and transfer the cryptocurrencies stored on them to their own wallets.
Assaults that steal tens of thousands of books
It’s a whole new modus operandi, now circulating in the streets of the City of London, where your iPhone is no longer stolen, but your passwords are the target of robbers. This was reported by the British daily The Guardian, citing a police report in the famous business district. He talks about a wave of “cryptographic attacks”.
The modus operandi is simple: thieves physically attack passers-by in the British capital’s financial hub, where six-figure salaries are the norm. Attackers force their victims to unlock their phones, gain access to victims’ digital wallets and transfer their cryptocurrency to their own “wallets”. In total, thousands of euros of crypto-assets would be stolen, according to The Guardian.
Some have lost more than 27,000 pounds, or around 35,000 euros. A victim testified to losing £5,000 or €5,900 when she tried to order an Uber. The attacker would have stolen his phone, emptied his Coinbase wallet, before returning his phone. Yet another man proved to have been robbed of £6,000 or €7,000 during one of the raids. When he agreed to follow a group of people offering him cocaine, they pinned him against a wall and forced him to unlock his phone using facial recognition.
Bad public habits involved
British police say the wave of “crypto-attacks” sweeping through London is largely due to the irreversibility of cryptocurrency transfers and the recklessness of many Londoners. In an effort to crack down on these crimes, London police are seeking more training in encryption and cybercrime to be able to combat these threats.
“If I get robbed and they force me to do a wire transfer, the bank can trace where the money went and there are different ways to reverse the transaction. But if money is transferred from one cryptocurrency wallet to another, there is no turning back,” says David Gerard, author of Attack on the 50 Foot Blockchain.
For Phil Aris, the cryptocurrency team leader of the National Council of Chiefs of Police’s Cybercrime Program, there is an urgent need to train police officers while educating the public about the risks of opening our crypto accounts and our crypto accounts on the street. Cryptocurrency holders should exercise caution as the amount of stolen or potentially stolen money is very large.
One of the issues raised by these new attacks and thefts is the security and accessibility of crypto wallets on mobile phones. “You don’t walk down the street and count a stack of 50 pound notes. Crypto assets should follow the same logic,” concluded Phil Aris, director of the cryptocurrency team for the National Commission of Chiefs of Police’s Cybercrime Program.
These new types of thefts represent a major challenge for the police, but they must be able to count on the help of crypto users. They are asked to reduce their use of their crypto wallets or outdoor trading platforms in order to limit their exposure as much as possible.
Cryptocurrencies are increasingly common and attract thieves, whether through hacking or, now, physical attacks. The solution may lie in the impossibility for his phone to access the amounts. As under duress and pain, any advanced security measures will be useless. For example, physical wallets can be a solution to prevent these thefts.
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Crypto: in London the number of aggression explodes!
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