An interesting court case revealing how two teenagers redirected a 16.4552 Bitcoin wallet worth nearly $773,000 in today’s price came into light.
The case reveals how Andrew Schober, a Colorado citizen, got infected with a clipboard hijacking virus when downloading the Electrum Atom Bitcoin wallet from Reddit. The hijacking malware contained in the wallet ultimately resulted in the theft of 16.4552 Bitcoin that was redirected to a wallet controlled by two teens located in the U.K.
After spending years to track down the attackers and paying nearly $10,000 to private investigators and security professionals, Schober found out that Benedict Thompson and Oliver Read, now students in their twenties and enrolled in computer science, were the perpetrators behind the attack he suffered. However, since the robbery from Schober occurred when the thieves were teenagers, he is suing their parents for the almost $1 million he lost as a result of the theft.
The complaint says that Mr. Schober pursues this action to hold the defendants responsible for their breaches of federal and state law, and to seek compensation for the severe financial and personal damage he suffered.
The attorney claims that Schober had attempted to settle the case out of court, showing a letter he had written to the lawyers representing Thompson and Read.
In their response to the case, the defendants claim that the statute of limitations has expired and that the action should be dismissed. The two young people in question are accused of stealing the Bitcoin, and no one appears to deny that.
Electrum Atom malware
According to the complaint, Schober allegedly downloaded a malicious version of Electrum cryptocurrency wallet, which was reportedly uploaded on Reddit by one of the teen threat actors who allegedly offered to provide their users “Bitcoin Atom” cryptocurrency access. As stated in the court complaint, rather than make use of a bitcoin wallet address that Schober copied and pasted, the virus used an alternative address, which was claimed to be owned by Thompson and Read.
As the complaint explains, the malware cannot be removed from the victim’s computer by removing the application in which it was hidden. This is because the malware inserts itself into the Java library on a victim’s machine, no matter where the downloaded file is originally stored, and obscures its presence using an encryption method that makes the malware’s XOR strings incomprehensible.
However, in the future, the virus may be used to get sensitive information that is copied to the clipboard, such as passwords, the lawsuit claims.
For Mr. Schober, the deployment of malware on his computer and the loss of his bitcoin holdings were devastating, the complaint says. The filing states that Schober’s net wealth was approximately 95 percent comprised of his bitcoin wallet that was stolen. Today, a 16.4552 BTC wallet would be worth nearly $773,000.
During the cryptocurrency trading craze, criminals will keep finding workarounds to empty people’s wallets. Unfortunately, this trend is expected to continue for as long as the crypto markets keep producing value. This would force cybersecurity white hats to make drastic improvements to their tools and procedures to provide users with a safer cryptocurrency trading environment.