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The Israeli media outlet Posta reports that two brothers from Jerusalem, Israel, were arrested by investigators of the national cyber unit at Lahav 433 for stealing $100 million from global crypto exchanges after the investigation had already begun in 2017. In a different report, it is stated that one of the crypto exchanges is no other than Bitfinex, which was indeed hacked in 2016 and consequently over $70 million had been stolen. According to investigators, they used the popular Phishing method to dupe users and steal their private credentials.
The brothers named Eli Gigi (31) and Assaf Gigi (21) have been arrested for breaking into crypto wallets in which a myriad of Bitcoins were stored. According to a report published on Israeli outlet Posta, the brothers were stealing virtual currencies over a long period of time during which they have made many small as well as large scale successful attempts and had stolen Bitcoin worth $100 million until now.
The investigation file was first opened back in 2017. The police officers investigating the case said that the brothers were using widely known Phishing method to lure users in and steal their usernames and passwords. They created fake but yet similar websites of popular crypto exchanges and wallet sites. After receiving the required credential, they allegedly exploited the wallets for the purpose of stealing crypto coins worldwide.
From Respectable Military Unit to Crypto Hackers
Eli Gigi is a 31-year-old graduate from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem who enlisted in the distinguished Talpiot unit in the Israel Defense Forces, an academic military excellence program to train technological security leaders for the research and development of weapons systems for the IDF. There aren’t many details available about the younger brother Assaf Gigi as he remained silent during his interrogation.
At the Rishon Lezion Magistrate’s Court, the police claimed that Eli Gigi linked himself to some of the offenses, and his lawyer Ilan Sofer said that Gigi admitted “actions that could complicate him by tens of thousands of shekels,” regardless of the police’s suspicions. Eli Gigi said in court: “I was wrong, I came from a bad place. I’m a good boy, and I’m sorry. I’m willing to cooperate.”
Judge Guy Avnon stated the following:
“It is clear that this is an educated person, a young man who has no previous convictions, and I have found that at this stage of the proceedings, these facts do not change the need to order the suspect’s detention.”
Assaf is represented by Adv. Doron Eitani of the Gblanga-Eitani firm and the detention of the brothers was extended until Monday or 24th of June.
Crypto crimes are becoming more prevalent whether they are committed on the internet or threatening crypto holders physically. Ponzi schemes, Phishing, lucrative offers and hacking attacks have become the most common illicit activities through which criminals are fooling people and stealing the cryptocurrencies.
If indeed the Israeli suspects are the ones responsible for the 2016 Bitfinex hack, this might be the end to one of the biggest mysteries in the crypto spere in recent years.