A top member of the Germany-based Iota (IOTA) Foundation has said the majority of the ~$11 million alleged to have been stolen in a major Iota token heist last year has been found, Reuters reported Jan. 30.
The investigation first launched early 2018, after multiple citizens had reported stolen funds to local German police. Over 85 victims of the theft have since been identified, with the total IOTA stolen estimated to be worth ~10 million euros (~$11.4 million).
Dominik Schiener, Iota co-founder and co-chairman of its board, told Reuters that:
“[f]rom what [the Foundation knows], just a small amount of the 10 million euros has not been found. The exchanges have blocked the hacker’s accounts. He tried to free the money, but he did not succeed.”
The funds are reportedly now being held by law enforcement authorities to be used as evidence against the suspect. Schiener outlined that while investigators had initially thought the heist to have been perpetrated by an organized group, their trail led to the work of a single man, who reportedly “had a normal job and is well-educated.” His identity has not been disclosed.
As previously reported, the hacker is alleged to have used a malicious Iota seed generator — found to have been hosted on the iotaseed.io domain, among other sites — to create seeds for users that would lead them to use private keys under his control. He is reported to have thereby secured access to victims’ wallets, and transferred their holdings to wallets he had created using fake IDs.
German prosecutors first identified a man living in the U.K. last July as a possible suspect responsible for the fraud.
Cointelegraph recently reported that cryptocurrency-related crime has caused an estimated $1.7 billion in investor losses in 2018. The report notes that nearly three times as much was stolen in crypto in the first half of the year compared to the entirety of 2017.
A recent report from crypto analytics firm Chainalysis revealed that two hacker groups have received the majority of the money lost in cryptocurrency scams — reportedly totalling $1 billion in crypto.