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Indian Crypto Hack May be Linked to Terrorist Organization Hamas

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·3-min read
In this article:
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While innovation is a driver of economies and development it can sometimes become a means of wrongdoings disrupting the fabric of societies. Digital currencies and their use cases have often been looked down upon especially due to their usage for illicit purposes.

In a recent case, an investigation into a crypto wallet hack in India has allegedly revealed that the Palestinian militant group Hamas could be behind the crime.

What’s the Case?

An investigation led by the Intelligence Fusion & Strategic Ops (IFSO) unit of the Delhi Police Special Cell in India revealed that around $2,67,717.36 worth of cryptocurrencies were stolen from the wallet of a Delhi-based businessman and could be allegedly linked to Hamas accounts.

As reported by several local Indian news organizations, the stolen crypto was then transferred to cold wallets before allegedly landing with the terrorist group operating in Gaza. The military wing of Hamas is renowned for using stolen and donated cryptocurrency to finance terrorism.

The incident was first reported in 2019 when the Delhi-based businessman filed a complaint with local police about losing access to his private wallet. As per the complaint, the victim had around 6.2 Bitcoin, 9.79 Ethereum, 2.44 Bitcoin Cash (BCH)  stolen from his mobile wallet. The approximate wallet value at the time was around $41K.

The report filed by IFSO also stated:

“The seized wallet belonged to Mohammad Naseer Ibrahim Abdulla. The other wallets into which a significant portion of the cryptocurrencies was transferred were operated from Giza in Egypt. One of these wallets belonged to Ahmed Marzooq. Another wallet, in which cryptocurrencies had been transferred, belonged to Ahmed QH Safi from Ramallah in Palestine.”

Further, some of the stolen currency was also allegedly found transferred to a UK-based gambling site and a child pornography site, according to the official report.

Crypto Defamation Continues

Of late, governments around the globe have tightened their arms around cryptocurrencies amid rising crypto-related crimes and wallet hacks. Most recently, Russia’s central bank proposed the ban on crypto mining, creation, and usage, saying they could be used in money laundering or to finance terrorism.

In July last year, Israel said that it ‘uncovered a web of electronic wallets’ used by Hamas to raise funds using Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

Further, more recently, in the first week of January Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz signed an order to seize more than $800,000 worth of cryptocurrency on its way to Hamas, but a spokesperson for the movement said that the Israeli announcement was exaggerated.

According to the IMF and World Bank, criminals launder an estimated $2 trillion-$4 trillion each year.

Thus, in 2018, to curb this growing issue, Attorney General Jeff Sessions established a Cyber-Digital Task Force within the US Department of Justice to evaluate the impact that recent advances in technology have had on law enforcement’s ability and had laid down various warnings around the same. 

However, with rising reports from around the globe about crypto-related crime the same negatively affects the larger narrative for cryptocurrencies. For now, the global crypto market cap stands at $1.54 trillion, a 5.80% decrease over the last day as most coins noted negative returns at the time of writing. 

This article was originally posted on FX Empire

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