The UK's South West Regional Cyber Crime Unit, along with the Dutch police (Politie), Europol, Eurojust and the UK's National Crime Agency, has arrested six suspects allegedly behind a €24 million ($27 million) cryptocurrency theft, Europol announced Tuesday.
The suspects - five men and one woman - were arrested at their homes in the UK and the Netherlands after a 14-month investigation, according to the announcement.
The theft, which mainly targeted users’ bitcoin assets, is believed to have affected at least 4,000 victims in 12 countries, with the numbers “continuing to grow,” Europol said.
A technique called typosquatting, also known as URL hijacking, was apparently used by the suspects to gain access to victims’ bitcoin wallets for stealing their funds and login details, per the announcement.
“The investigation has grown from a single report of £17k [$21,583] worth of bitcoin stolen from a Wiltshire-based victim to a current estimate of more than four thousand victims in at least 12 countries. We expect that number to grow,” said Louise Boyce, detective inspector from the UK's South West Regional Cyber Crime Unit, in a separate statement on Wednesday.
The authorities have also seized “a large number of devices, equipment and valuable assets” from the suspects, Boyce added.