Two Israelis Arrested for Phishing Fraud, Bitfinex Hack

The two allegedly netted tens of millions of dollars and were also involved in the infamous 2016 Bitfinex hack

Cyber crimes were always a part of the cryptocurrency space, with crypto exchanges being a lucrative target for hackers. And as the malicious attacks vary, the creativity of the attackers grows.

Two brothers from Jerusalem, Israel, were arrested by the cyber unit of the Israeli Police a few days ago for stealing cryptocurrency through a phishing scheme.

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Tens of millions of dollars

According to a publication from today (Sunday) on the Israeli news outlet Ynet, the two managed to net $100 million. However, after reaching out to an Israeli Police spokesperson, Finance Magnates learned that the sum is lower, and revolves around “tens of millions of dollars.”

Eli Gigi and his younger brother Assaf Gigi are suspected for a long and systematic theft of Bitcoin (and apparently other currencies as well) by accessing traders’ wallets, Israeli crime news portal Posta reports. The brothers allegedly set up fake crypto sites, mimicking prominent crypto exchanges and wallets, and lured traders to use them.

They did this by publishing links to those sites on Telegram groups and other trading oriented forums. After the traders clicked on the links and submitted their private keys, the information was collected by the brothers, who used it to transfer the crypto coins to their own wallets.

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While this is considered to be their main practice, the police take into account that the brothers might have also used other schemes to net the money.

Bitfinex hack

Another suspicion that was raised by the investigators was the brothers’ alleged connection to a 2016 hack of several accounts that traded on Bitfinex. However, the police spokesman refused to elaborate on that matter.

According to the Israeli Police, the victims are mostly EU and US citizens, and therefore the case is currently being investigated by “police cyber units in several countries.” However, at this moment, there is no information on accomplices from other countries. The police are currently saying that the main goal of this multi-national cooperation is to retrieve the missing funds.

Elite unit alumni

During a raid that was conducted earlier this week on Eli Gigi’s house, the police managed to get ahold of a crypto wallet. However, according to Posta, the amount it contained was “significantly lower” than the suspected total embezzlement. The police also found “luxury cars” belonging to the two.

Eli Gigi is a graduate of an elite technological unit of the IDF, that recruits youth who demonstrated outstanding academic capabilities.

The police spokesperson stressed that the investigation, which started in early 2017, is not over yet, and there might soon be new developments to be unraveled.

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