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South Bay tech crime team aids bust in big Bitcoin

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A Canadian youth has been arrested in reference to an eight-figure Bitcoin theft reported final 12 months, following an FBI and Secret Service investigation aided by a tech-crime workforce run out of the Santa Clara County District Lawyer’s Workplace.

Police in Hamilton, Ontario — about 40 miles southwest of Toronto — introduced Wednesday {that a} minor had been implicated in a March 2020 Bitcoin theft involving greater than $36 million, which marks the biggest identified cryptocurrency theft from a single individual, in keeping with authorities.

Authorities additionally confirmed that the theft sufferer was Josh Jones, who gained prominence as an early Bitcoin investor.

The theft was initially reported to the FBI Los Angeles workplace. The South Bay-based Regional Enforcement Allied Laptop Group was consulted due to its comparatively intensive expertise investigating cryptocurrency theft instances over the previous 4 years.

DA investigator David Berry mentioned the workforce helped federal and Canadian authorities navigate the intricacies of what’s generally known as a “SIM swap” hack. A SIM swap usually includes hackers getting a cell phone provider to switch entry to a focused individual’s telephone quantity, from the registered SIM card to certainly one of theirs.

“Being within the early wave has put us within the place of getting a whole lot of expertise in how you can go about investigating these instances,” he mentioned.

Some SIM swap instances contain unlawful insider entry, although many intruders will comb via an individual’s social media profile or use phishing emails to get solutions to safety questions. As soon as they’ve entry to an individual’s textual content messages, they’ll bypass most digital safety limitations to banking, social media and cryptocurrency accounts.

Berry mentioned as soon as the March 2020 theft started garnering reasonable consideration in mainstream media and large consideration amongst cryptocurrency boards and blogs, his workforce started getting suggestions concerning the theft. They alerted the lead investigators within the case.

“Folks got here out of the woodwork to (contact) our tip line,” Berry mentioned.

The surge of suggestions could have been influenced by the worldwide repute — and in some circles, notoriety — the workforce has garnered for its cryptocurrency investigations. The group secured the nation’s first-ever SIM swap conviction for a Boston man who used the tactic to steal $7.5 million in cryptocurrency from victims in California.

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