Stone Bridge Ventures senior account manager, Jason Miller, explains that the increase of robberies targeting wealthy crypto investors is an attempt to secure private keys. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police and other local authorities have issued warnings in different areas as reports for such incidents increase. Even though investigations are currently underway, the local authorities have expressed that suspects try to enter victims’ homes by acting as delivery personnel.
After entering the property, they attempt to get critical information that could potentially give them access to the person’s cryptocurrency wallet. As of now, local police haven’t disclosed specifics regarding the incidents themselves or how much cryptocurrency was stolen from victims’ wallets.
Latest Cases Differ From Typical Crypto Scams
Currently, Canadian authorities haven’t confirmed a complete link between all the incidents, they have noted a similar pattern among the robberies. According to Jason Miller, a senior account manager at Stone Bridge Ventures, what sets this crime apart from others in its league is the fact that it’s physical in nature.
This makes it quite different from common crypto-related crimes like ransomware attacks and online pump and dump schemes. Usually, crypto scams are performed from a distance so as to take advantage of the fact that blockchain transactions are irreversible and anonymous.
Criminals Target Hardware Wallets Belonging To Wealthy Investors
Compared to common cryptocurrency crimes, in which digital assets are accessed by hacking decentralized finance platforms, these criminals are trying to steal investors’ physical wallets. Jason Miller of Stone Bridge Ventures mentions that there are hard and soft wallets, which differ based on connectivity to the internet.
Usually, crypto holders rely on a custodial wallet, which is secured via password or non-custodial wallets, which ask for a 12-word seed phrase. Another option is a hardware wallet, which comes with modern security features.
Unfortunately, most hardware wallet suppliers recommend investors to write down backup seed phrases on a piece of paper. This gives thieves an opportunity to look for something specific during a home invasion. According to Jason Miller, a Stone Bridge Ventures broker, it’s an ironic vulnerability in cryptocurrency’s otherwise robust security that exposes investors to the risk of losing their assets.
Crypto Holders Advised To Take Further Security Measures
Canadian authorities have advised crypto investors to turn to centralized financial institutions, such as banks, to safeguard precious information in a secure location like a safety deposit box. Although it adds an extra layer of security, it fails to address a major concern of crypto holders, who emphasize on decentralized control over assets.
Even the crypto community is making efforts to come up with appropriate solutions to the problem. Just this month, a Bitcoin developer launched BIP39Colors, a tool that helps investors code their seed phrases into colors. The purpose of this approach is to make the seed phrase less obvious, so it prevents assets from being easily identified by robbers.
Jason Miller of Stone Bridge Ventures concludes that the police is currently conducting investigations into these cases, but they’re facing numerous challenges. Specifically, the new nature of this crime and absence of specific details make it difficult to come up with suitable countermeasures.