Bitcoin and cryptocurrency scams/stealing is increasing in India day by day, which has put bitcoin in bad light many times. Recently on 17 March 2020, a Bengaluru woman “Ayushi Jain” got arrested by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) for alleged stealing 63.54 bitcoin worth Rs 3.6 crore from a cryptocurrency exchange firm BitCipher Labs, she co-founded with Ashish Singhal in 2017.
Due to some reasons Ayushi quits the company in December 2019. According to Ashish Singhal the bitcoins was stolen from 11 Jan 2020 to 11 Mar 2020 from company’s hardware wallet.
Talking about the case Ashish Singhal said
Me, Vimal Sagar Tiwari and Govind Kumar Soni hold a hard wallet on behalf of BitCipher Labs. The private keys were held among the three of us. On 13 March, we found that 63.5 bitcoins (Rs 36,662,259) were stolen and transferred through the exchange of SwapLab between January 11 and March 11.
B Dayananda, Additional director general of police, CID said
We found the suspect had used a passphrase, a sequence of words or text used in a computer system, to gain access into the hard wallet. We asked the complainant to furnish details of the staff, including those who left the job recently. We scanned the activities of the staff and former employees, including Ayushi.
A senior police officer also said
Investigation revealed the complainant had hardware wallets in which Bitcoins were stored, and a 24-word passphrase was written on a piece of paper and stored securely. As Ayushi was working with the firm from the beginning, Ashish trusted her and gave her the key to the almirah in which the paper with the passpharse was kept. Taking advantage of this, Ayushi opened the almirah when no one was around and took a photograph of the passphrase, because she required bitcoins to start her own cryptocurrency exchange company. She purchased a hardware wallet and used the passphrase to convert bitcoins with the assistance of Swaplab exchange to Monero cryptocurrency, and later had them transferred to her Binance account.
CID searched Ayushi’s house and found her laptop with all the evidence of bitcoin stealing. Ayushi stole the bitcoins using passphrase and transferred the bitcoins between 11 Jan – 11 March to her binance account and in account of some close friends. All the stolen bitcoins was recovered on next day itself.
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