Bitcoin is a digital currency that operates on a decentralized platform, which means that it is not regulated by any central authority. Transactions involving Bitcoin are recorded on a public ledger called the blockchain, which is maintained by a network of computers around the world. The security of this network relies on cryptography, which makes it difficult to hack or manipulate.
Despite its seemingly secure nature, Bitcoin has been the target of numerous thefts and hacks over the years. In this article, we will explore some of the most notable cases of people who stole Bitcoin and how they did it.
One of the most infamous cases of Bitcoin theft occurred in 2014, when Mt. Gox, which was then the largest Bitcoin exchange in the world, filed for bankruptcy after losing 850,000 Bitcoins worth approximately $450 million at the time. It was later revealed that the theft had been going on for several years, and that hackers had exploited a flaw in the exchange’s software to steal the Bitcoins.
In another case, a group of hackers known as the North Korean Lazarus Group stole over $500 million worth of Bitcoin from various exchanges between 2017 and 2018. The group is believed to have been responsible for several high-profile cyber attacks, including the 2014 Sony Pictures hack.
In addition to organized cybercrime, there have also been cases of individuals stealing Bitcoin from others. In one such case, a Florida man named Michael Murgio was sentenced to 16 months in prison for stealing Bitcoins from a credit union he was associated with. Murgio and his co-conspirators used the stolen Bitcoins to pay off bribes and other illegal activities.
Another example of an individual stealing Bitcoin was the case of 19-year-old Nicholas Truglia, who was accused of stealing $1 million worth of cryptocurrency from various individuals in 2018. Truglia allegedly used SIM swapping, a technique where he convinced carriers to transfer victims’ phone numbers to his own devices, to gain access to their cryptocurrency wallets and steal their Bitcoin.
In some cases, Bitcoin theft has been the result of simple carelessness or negligence. In one notable case, an early Bitcoin adopter named James Howells accidentally threw away a hard drive containing 7,500 Bitcoins, which would be worth over $300 million today. Howells has since tried to recover the hard drive, but it is believed to be buried in a landfill site.
In conclusion, Bitcoin theft is a serious issue that affects both individuals and organizations. While the decentralized nature of Bitcoin provides a level of security, it is not immune to hacking and other forms of theft. As the value of Bitcoin continues to rise, it is essential for individuals and companies to take appropriate measures to protect their cryptocurrency holdings. This may include using secure hardware wallets, multi-factor authentication, and other methods to prevent unauthorized access to their Bitcoin wallets.