AFTER logging on to the public Wi-Fi at a restaurant, a man unwittingly had $155,000 stolen from his digital wallet. This is the real problem with Bitcoin.
AN UNSUSPECTING diner has had $155,000 worth of the digital currency Bitcoin stolen from him while logged on to a restaurant’s unsecured public Wi-Fi network.
The incident reportedly took place in an Austrian restaurant this week with the cyber thieves moving the digital currency to an “unknown, non-traceable account,” police said in a statement.
The 36-year-old victim reportedly logged on to the unsecured network to check the value of his Bitcoin holdings. He later realised that $100,000 euros worth had been stolen.
It remains unclear whether the victim’s account was already hacked before he logged on to the unsecured network, police said.
The incident, while small in nature, highlights the issue of hackers targeting personal Bitcoin accounts as the digital currency has exploded in value in recent years.
While Bitcoin is arguably becoming mainstream, it has had to endure a string of controversies along the way.
In January 2014, a Japanese-based Bitcoin exchange known as Mt Gox was hacked. It was once the largest bitcoin intermediary and the world’s leading bitcoin exchange before thieves made off with 850,000 BTC. At today’s value, that’s worth a staggering $A 9,147,700,000.
In June this year, South Korea’s largest Ethereum (another popular cryptocurrency) and Bitcoin exchange was breached by hackers who stole customers’ data and targeted their accounts in an effort to drain their digital wallets. According to local media reports, one person claimed to have lost 1.2 billion won, or about $A1.4 million.
And this week, a cryptocurrency start-up specialising in Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) called Confido raised about $500,000 before the company’s website and founders vanished, along with the cash.
These are just a few examples of the potential dangers posed by operating in the still emerging crypto market. That being said, the threat of hackers certainly isn’t a problem confined to cryptocurrencies as hackers have also targeted central banks, recently fleecing more than $US100 million from the Bangladesh central bank’s account at the US Federal Reserve.
But if you’re going to check how much your Bitcoin wallet is worth, maybe be careful about where you log on.