Indian authorities to file charges in Coinsecure hack

September 10, 2018
Chris Wheal

Coinsecure hack

The Coinsecure hack saw 438 bitcoin stolen

Indian law enforcement authorities are reported to be about to file charges relating to last April’s hacking of cryptocurrency exchange Coinsecure.

The incident involved the theft on April 9 of 438 bitcoin from the company’s wallet, then carrying a value of around Rupees 20 crore, or equivalent to just under $2.8m at current prices. It later emerged that the hack was an international crime that targeted several exchanges.

“We contacted some of the exchange firms from where the bitcoins were routed,” said Delhi deputy commissioner of police, cyber crime officer Anyesh Roy. “Initially, they didn’t give a response, but now we are in the process of getting the information through a mutual legal assistance treaty.”

An international effort

Coinsecure announced in April that its offline wallet had been emptied, apparently as the result of a hack. According to a Times of India report, it emerged that the private keys — the password kept by the company and stored offline — were leaked online and led to the hack.

Indian authorities contacted Interpol in a bid to track down the stolen bitcoin, which were apparently located in other exchanges.

“Mutual legal assistance treaties are agreements between two or more countries for sharing of information and are primarily used to request and obtain evidence for criminal investigations and prosecutions,” the Times noted. Five as yet unnamed crypto exchanges were found to be holding stolen bitcoin.

Twist in the tale

Coinsecure began processing refund claims over the summer from customers who had lost bitcoins as a result of the hack, setting June 30 as the final date for claims to be submitted. Reports suggest that around $2m has been returned to date.

The saga is given an added twist by the fact that the company in its First Information Report [FIR] named Coinsecure’s own security officer, Dr. Amitabh Saxena as a complicit in the hack.

The news comes a day before the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is due to review petitions lobbying against the cryptocurrency ban in India. In early April, the RBI announced the imposition of a block on any financial organisation from trading or associating itself with any cryptocurrency-related activities in the country.

Post written by Chris Wheal
Chris Wheal is editor of OpenLedger's news and features service. An award-wining business journalists himself, he runs a team of freelance journalists from across the UK and north America.

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