You don’t have to be sophisticated to hack your way to hundreds of Bitcoins – if you choose your prey wisely.
That is how Shane Duffy, who lives in a small outback town in Queensland, Australia, came to possess Bitcoin wealth worth over AU$110,000 at today’s prices. Home schooled for years due to his suffering from Asperger’s Syndrome, Duffy “stayed home most of the time and taught himself all about computers,” UK newspaper the Daily Mail reports.
But it was not a cog in the Bitcoin network itself under fire: Duffy instead targeted gaming website League of Legends in July 2013, accessing information which he then sold to other players for Bitcoins to give them an advantage in the game.
It is alleged that having set up a dedicated website for selling the data, he was taking in the equivalent of over AU$1000 per week in revenue.
“Just a computer whiz”
After a joint operation in the area by Queensland Police and the FBI, which spent six months analyzing data from seized hardware, Duffy “was identified as the sole hacker” according to TechWorld and will now face Queensland magistrates next month. Detective Superintendent Brian Hay of the Queensland Police Fraud and Cyber Crime Squad told News.com.au:
“When you get the imagery that a skilled hacker has to be in a major city with a big bank of computers and sophisticated file servers surrounding them in a little bungalow ... we are talking about a 21-year-old living with his mother and family with a laptop.”
Meanwhile, Duffy’s mother has come forward to voice her disbelief at the charges and to support her son, who she says is just “a computer whiz.”
“What the police are saying is not correct,” Leah Duffy said, “he’s not guilty of the charges he’s accused of.” Regarding publication of the data, she commented that her son “was capable” but had merely accessed information which was “freely available on the internet” and that “somebody else has thrown the database out there.”
The fate of the assumedly confiscated Bitcoin stash meanwhile remains unknown.