Bitfinex hackers arrested after three years

Two brothers arrested in Israel last week have been linked to the massive 2016 Bitfinex hack.
Written by Catalin Cimpanu, Contributor

Two Israeli brothers have been arrested for their suspected involvement in the 2016 Bitfinex hack -- when hackers stole nearly 120,000 bitcoins from the exchange, worth $64 million at the time, and over $1.35 billion today.

Named Eli (31) and Assaf (21) Gigi, the two brothers have been arrested last week, according to Israeli news media [1, 2, 3].

Brothers involved in massive phishing scheme

Besides being linked to the Bitfinex hack of 2016, the two also stand accused of orchestrating various phishing schemes.

The two allegedly stole cryptocurrency worth tens of millions of bitcoins by posting links on cryptocurrency forums, Reddit, and Telegram, luring users on phishing sites.

They logged credentials for cryptocurrency trading portals and then emptied accounts at later points.

One brother was a former IDF top recruit

The oldest of the two brothers, Eli Gigi, has been trained by the Talpiot program in the IDF (Israeli Defense Forces), an academic military excellence program to train cyber-security experts for weapons research and development.

The Talpiot IDF program has also been linked to Unit 8200, an intelligence unit of the IDF, and one of the largest military branches in the Israeli army, previously linked to the development of the Stuxnet and Duqu malware families.

But despite the links to Israel's top cyber-unit, Gigi appears to have acted on his own in regards to his targeting of cryptocurrency users.

The investigation that eventually tracked down Eli and Assaf Gigi began in 2017, after the Bitfinex hack, and initially looked into a wave of phishing attacks on cryptocurrency users.

The two Gigi brothers were linked to the Bitfinex hack after $1.5 million worth of stolen Bitfinex Bitcoin moved from the hackers' account at the start of the month.

The 2016 Bitfinex hack was one of the biggest cryptocurrency trading platform hacks when it happened. At the time, Bitfinex was one of the largest cryptocurrency platforms around. When the hack happened, Bitcoin price fell by 20%, affecting global cryptocurrency trades. The exchange never recovered, and from a top 10 exchange, it now hovers around the #30 and #50 rank.

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