September 19, 2012
BitCoin Thieves Laying Low After Cyber Robbery
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
Earlier this month, a thief or perhaps group of thieves were able to lift nearly $262,000 worth of digital, online currency from the accounts and servers on which this currency was stored.
On September 4th, the attacker or attackers were able to break their way into the BitCoin infrastructure, giving them access not only to the digital coin, but also the digital accounts and wallets of those who owned BitCoins. Upon hearing about the attack, BitCoin founder Roman Shtylman closed all trades and temporarily shut the doors to BitFloor, the largest BitCoin exchange in the US. The majority of BitCoins are also created here as a result of trading.
Since this cyber-attack, Shtylman has been monitoring the system in order to catch these thieves. According to a piece by the BBC, not only has Shtylman been unable to identify the thieves, they´ve yet to try and spend any of their take.
"They have not been moved," said Shtylman, speaking of the missing BitCoins with the BBC. "We may not know who the person is but we can see what they are doing with the funds.”
It´s entirely likely, says Shtylman, that these thieves are simply laying low for the time being. After all, the heist took place only two weeks ago, and the guilty party or parties likely know all eyes are on the lookout for their digital footprints.
Shtylman also suggests these thieves could be looking for ways to launder the BitCoins, placing them into wallets they control before converting them to real, actual dollars.
The FBI has been notified about this incident, says Shtylman, and are investigating this matter further.
While the founder of BitCoin keeps his eyes peeled for any suspicious activity amongst the stolen coins, he must now look for the best possible way to reopen BitFloor, the fourth largest exchange in the world.
"Given the amount of money involved it will take time to solve these problems and find ways to pay people back," said Shtylman.
Despite the theft, BitCoin users appear eager to get back to trading this digital currency amongst themselves once more.
"A lot of people want to see the exchange return and continue trading,” Shtylman added.
Many prefer to conduct some matters of business with BitCoins, as these transactions are more difficult to trace than other, traditional methods. To trade BitCoins, one user must assign the private key associated with the BitCoins to another user. When the attackers broke into the BitFloor exchange, they were able to take control of many of these keys. Now, the attacker(s) have access to these BitCoins, though any movement they make with them will be made public and therefore, easily discovered.
Thieves have tried before to get rich quick by lifting these zeroes and ones. Earlier this year, UK-based exchange BitCoinica was the victim of a similar attack, leaving the exchange $228,000 lighter than before. Those BitCoin users who had their currency stolen took BitCoinica to task over this breach, suing the exchange in a San Francisco court for a total of $460,458 in damages.