Israeli malware scammer accused of stealing $1.7M

Israel is cracking down on the more nefarious elements of the crypto community. According to a report by Globes, Eliyahu Gigi has been charged with stealing as much as $1.7 million in digital currencies from the community.

Gigi and his brother were arrested in June after they were informed that he was placing malicious links in cryptocurrency forums. The plot was to convince users to download malicious files that collect credentials so Gigi could steal their assets.

Yeela Harel, a lawyer with the cyber department of the State Attorney’s Office, filed the charges on July 17. Gigi is accused of theft, fraud, and money laundering, amongst other things. Of the cryptos in his criminal portfolio were SegWitCoin (BTC), Ethereum and Dash, and he stole from users in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany.

Gigi also apparently tried to cover his tracks in this endeavor, using things like remote servers and crypto shufflers to hide what he was dong from any investigators or blockchain analysts who might be catching on.

This scandal shines an important light on the more criminal side of the cryptocurrency community. While many businesses and users simply want to find a better way to conduct business and safeguard their money, those who want to prey on the trust of others can nearly get away with it, due to the lack of controls and regulation on cryptocurrency exchanges.

While the industry celebrates BTC hovering around $10,000 in value per coin, it’s still a long way off from becoming the world’s currency precisely because it’s so easy for criminals to swoop in and hack exchanges or steal from personal wallets. But because BTC proponents praise its anonymity and welcome criminal activity, they rather not take action to make a better system.

That’s precisely why so many have called on world governments to step up and begin regulating those with the on and off-ramps of the industry. With proper know your customer (KYC) and anti-money laundering (AML) checks, the crimes that Gigi has been accused of become much harder to commit, as withdrawing millions from exchanges becomes a much more obvious action. That’s not something the bigger exchanges will be excited to implement, but it’s necessary for customers to feel safe in buying crypto.

New to Bitcoin? Check out CoinGeek’s Bitcoin for Beginners section, the ultimate resource guide to learn more about Bitcoin—as originally envisioned by Satoshi Nakamoto—and blockchain.

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