Since the bitcoin has become mainstream, crime related to cryptocurrency has also risen around the world. There have been multiple cases when a kidnapper asks for ransom in cryptocurrency so that he can take advantage of the transaction’s nature. Some kidnappers managed to escape the police while others got caught. The unregulated and anonymous nature of cryptocurrency has attracted the attention of many organized criminal groups, and crimes related to it are continuously increasing around the world.
There have also been cases where hackers have managed to steal millions of dollars worth of bitcoins. According to cybersecurity company carbon black, around 1.1 billion dollars worth of cryptocurrency was stolen alone last year. And apparently, it was easy for hackers to commit this crime, most of the hackers used malware that is readily available on the dark web, and it only cost around 1 dollar.
Here’s the list of 10 infamous bitcoin theft and kidnapping that took place around the world.
1. American Businessman kidnapped for one million dollars in bitcoin
In one of the most recent high profile kidnapping where kidnapper asked for a ransom in bitcoin took place in Costa Rica. According to reports, a local gang in San Jose kidnapped the American businessman William Sean Creighton Kopko on September 24 of last year and asked for one million dollars in bitcoin from the family. Kopko owns a gambling business “5Dimes’. After a few months of kidnapping, the family paid the kidnappers what they asked for, but Kopko never returned home. In January, police arrested 12 people as suspects, and 3 of them had already flown to Spain, but police managed to capture them too. As of now, there is no trace of the businessman, and the police are still investigating.
2. Kidnappers asked for 10 million dollars in the cryptocurrency in Norway.
Anne-Elisabeth Falkevik Hagen, 68, disappeared from her home on 3st1 October, the wife of Norweigan business tycoon Tom Hagen, one of the wealthiest man of the country. This time kidnappers asked for 10 million dollars in cryptocurrency Monero. According to police, Mrs. Hagen was in her house in Oslo when she was kidnapped, and a note saying that” if the ransom is not paid, she will be killed” was found. Her husband was the first person to see the note. The police are still investigating the case and have told the family not to give in to the demands of the kidnapper. According to many reports, the chances of Mrs. Hagen being alive are very slim. As the case has become a high profile, police are also looking at the situation with different angles.
Tom Hagen has a net worth of 200 million dollars and owns 70% of the electricity company Elkraft. The police went public with the case to generate tips, and they also mentioned that international authorities are co-ordinating to catch the kidnappers.
3. The kidnapping of a Teenage boy in South Africa.
In May of last year, a teenage boy was kidnapped in Mpumalanga, South Africa. Kidnappers asked for a hundred thousand dollars in bitcoin for the safe return of the boy.
After a few months of hard work by police, they managed to grab the kidnappers. In November one kidnapper was arrested from Germiston in Gauteng, while the second was arrested in Ladysmith, KwaZulu-Natal, on December 30.
13-year boy safely returned home to his family, and it was not disclosed whether the ransom was paid or not. This was the first kidnapping in the country where the payment was asked for to be paid in bitcoin.
4. Blockchain expert kidnapped in Ukraine
On December 26, Pavel Lerner, a leading analyst and blockchain expert, was abducted by masked people. According to a local news website, Lerner encountered six people in masks, and they pushed him into a minibus on gunpoint. Lerner worked in EXMO, a Uk based crypto exchange firm. Kidnappers asked for one million dollars in bitcoins. Just a few weeks later Lerner was released by the kidnappers when they got the ransom amount. Police never found out who the kidnappers were and it also remained disclosed who paid the ransom money.
5. $840,000 Bitcoin ransom plot foiled in India
A gang of 7 members in Rajasthan, India kidnapped two crypto traders Shaikh and Shazad and asked for 80 bitcoins worth of 850,000 dollars. But the plan did not succeed, and police arrested al the members of gangs in operation that went for 13 hours. Locals reported police about a man with a gun on a road, and police grabbed the man after 20 minutes of chase, and then he told the police about his partners that were near in building. After long search police on July 15, late-night arrested all members. Police said media that this gang had previously been involved in extortion and other crimes as well.
6. Kidnapping for bitcoin in NewYork
Earlier last year, a businessman was kidnapped from a cab when he was heading home. The kidnapper on gunpoint asked the businessman to give his apartment keys and 24 digit password to his hardware wallet that stored his cryptocurrency. The businessman was able to escape from the cab, but he had given his keys and password to the kidnapper. Meza (kidnapper) went to his home and transferred half-million dollars worth of Ethereum to his account. Later he was captured by the police as he was caught on the apartment building’s surveillance camera.
7. Ransomware crypto locker
In 2013, Crypto Locker gave its victims three days to pay the ransom via bitcoin or else their private key would be deleted permanently. As many as 40% of people gave bitcoin in ransom, and around 27 million dollars worth of transactions happened because of that malware. Some users got their money with the help of authorities. Scammer’s total ransom that he got away with is estimated to be around 3 million dollars and it was never found out who was behind the scam.
8. HC7 Planetary ransomware
HC7 Planetary is ransomware increasingly affecting machines across the globe. The software infiltrates a computer and goes on to infect other devices on a given network. This ransomware asks up to 5,000 dollars in Ethereum to restore access to the affected system. This malware has affected many systems so far, but as security technology is getting better most of the ransomware is easy to detect.
9. Ryuk ransomware collected 3.75 million dollars in bitcoin
Ryuk in just five months of this year has collected 705 bitcoin in ransom, which is worth of 3.75 million dollars. This ransomware encrypts all data of the host and locks it until the victim contacts the hacker and pays the ransom in Bitcoin. The highest ransom has been up to 99 Bitcoin.
10. Israelian hacker stole 1.7 million dollars from Europeans
Gigi, a 31-year old from Israel, reportedly stole Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Dash from various foreigners, including Belgians, Dutch, and Germans. So far, this cybercriminal has stolen 1.7 million dollars in multiple cryptocurrencies. Gigi used malware that would attack the victims’ computers and allow him to take cryptocurrencies. Gigi is currently under arrest and is yet to be convicted of his crimes.