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Canadian Teenager Charged and Arrested for $50 Million Cryptocurrency Theft


Samy Bensaci, an 18-year-old teenager from Montreal, Canada has been indicted for 4 criminal charges in relation to a theft of cryptocurrency worth $50 million in a SIM-swapping scam that targeted cryptocurrency holders, as per the reportings by Infosecurity Magazine, dated 17th of January.

The Canadian authorities have accused the teen hacker of being a part of a hacking group that was involved in the theft of millions of dollars from Canadians and Americans. The scam, of which Bensaci was allegedly a part of, stole, "$50 million from our neighbors to the south and $300,000 in Canada" told Lieutenant Hugo Fournier, a spokesperson for the Sûreté du Québec.

Bensaci was charged and consequently arrested in November and was later released on CA $200,000 bail, on orders of living with his parents in Northeast Montreal, as per the local media reports. As a result of the incident, prosecutors prohibited Bensaci's access to any device that can be connected to the internet including computers, mobile phones, tablets, games, and consoles. Specifically from accessing, “any computer, tablet, mobile phone, game console, including PS3, PS4, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, or any other device capable of accessing the Internet”. He has also been ordered to hand over his passport to local police to assure he does not flee away from the country.

One of the purported victims Don Tapscott confirmed, “We can confirm that last year a hacker attempted to steal crypto assets from our company and its employees. That attempt was unsuccessful. We cooperated with the police [and] have been impressed with their determination to bring those responsible to justice.”

SIM swapping attack, also known as SIM jacking or SIM splitting is a form of identity theft where an attacker targets a weakness in two-factor authentication to take over an account. The attacker exploits a cell phone carrier's ability to port a phone number to a new device with a new SIM to acquire access to the victim's credit card numbers, bank accounts, and other financial information. The feature is normally used when someone loses access to his phone (or gets it stolen) or is switching service to a new device. As the reliability of customers on mobile-based authentication is growing, SIM swap attacks have also been on a rise in recent times.

Twitter to remove accounts of cryptocurrency scammers

Twitter is cracking down on cryptocurrency scammers and is taking steps to reduce the number of such scams. This comes after a number of accounts impersonated Elon Musk, Vitalik Buterin, and John McAfee to dupe users into sending them small amounts of cryptocurrency.

The impersonators would deceive other Twitter users by using tactics such as misspellings in the username or using the same or similar avatar to fool users.

They would tell followers to send them small amounts of cryptocurrency and would promise in return to send a bigger amount back.

In February, Buterin tweeted to his followers that if they sent him 0.1ETH, “I will send you nothing because I am too lazy.” Scammers, in reply, took the opportunity to ask users to send them small amounts of ethereum.


In response to the scammers impersonating Buterin, he took to Twitter to negate the rumours:


A Twitter spokesperson said, "We're aware of this form of manipulation and are proactively implementing a number of signals to prevent these types of accounts from engaging with others in a deceptive manner."