Japanese police have caught and arrested an 18-year-old Japanese individual for the crime of stealing cryptocurrency, valued at over ¥15 million (approximately $134,300).
This is one of the first times that Japanese prosecutors have successfully investigated a case involving the theft of cryptocurrency (by an individual). Officials have stated that the accused was able to successfully perform this theft by hacking a cryptocurrency-related website.
According to authorities, Monappy, a cryptocurrency exchange that traders use to manage the Monacoin cryptocurrency, was hacked with over $100,000 in cryptocurrency stolen. It has also been disclosed that the theft took place between August 14th and September 1st, 2018.
The name of the accused has not been disclosed, due to the fact that he is still considered a minor under Japanese law. However, it has been disclosed that the accused is a resident of Utsunomiya, Tochigi Prefecture.
The Japanese authorities further disclosed that the accused attempted to use the Tor peer-to-peer (P2P) encryption software network to hide his personal details, including his IP address.
Security officials working for the police department, were able to find the accused by analyzing communication logs left by the accused on Monappy’s server.
The accused confessed to the crime, stating the following:
“I felt like I’d found a trick no one knows and did it as if I were playing a video game.”
The accused also claimed that he was able to exploit a vulnerability in the website’s codebase. He found a security loophole where the website’s transaction system malfunctions if someone attempted to repeatedly transfer cryptocurrency during a short timeframe.
Monappy’s management did acknowledge that their cryptocurrency platform had indeed been hacked and also promised to reimburse the over 7,700 crypto investors who were affected due to this security breach.
According to the accused hacker, he was able to breach the website’s security measures by repeatedly sending cryptocurrency transfer requests to his own account, which resulted in the system malfunctioning. He was then able to transfer a large amount of cryptocurrency to his own crypto address. He further converted the stolen Monacoin (MONA) cryptocurrency to other digital assets in order for him to purchase physical items.
He now faces charges of committing financial fraud. Committing crime is certainly not like a video game.