Nick Chong · 9 hours ago · 2 min read
Japan › Hacks
Japan: 18 Year Old Charged for Stealing $100,000 in MonaCoin in Country’s First Crypto Theft Case
Japanese authorities in the city of Utsunomiya have charged an 18-year-old for stealing crypto from Monappy, a digital wallet service for MonaCoin. The unnamed teenager was reportedly referred to prosecutors in what is the country’s first case of charges being brought against a cryptocurrency hacker.
Even though Japan has been at the forefront of crypto adoption, the country has yet to find and charge a hacker over cryptocurrency theft.
That is, until Mar. 15th, when Japanese authorities charged an 18-year-old hacker for stealing cryptocurrency. The hacker was reportedly referred to prosecutors in the city of Utsunomiya.
According to Japan Times, the defendant, who is a resident of the Tochigi prefecture, was accused of stealing over $100,000 in cryptocurrency between Aug. 14th and Sep. 1st of last year. Local reports indicated that the boy stole the funds from Monappy, an online wallet used to store and manage the MonaCoin (MONA) token.
The $100,000 in crypto was stolen from more than 7,700 users, reports showed. Monappy’s management responded to the incident saying that they would reimburse its users.
System Malfunction Allowed Theft
The hacker used Tor’s encryption software to hide his personal information, which includes his IP address, Japan Times reported. He then took advantage of a bug inside the website which allowed him to repeatedly send cryptocurrency transfer requests to his own account.
This caused the system to malfunction, allowing him to transfer almost $100,000, or 15 million yen, worth of MonaCoins to his account. The incident report also revealed that the hacker transferred the stolen funds to an account on a different crypto website.
While the name of the website was left out of local reports, the hacker himself told the authorities that he converted the stolen MonaCoin to another digital asset. The police said the hacker used the converted Monacoins to purchase various items online, including a smartphone.
According to a report from IndieSquare on Sep. 3rd, 2018, the theft had no impact on the website’s cold wallet, which held over 54 percent of Monappy’s total balances. Moreover, sensitive information such as user emails and passwords were unaffected.
The case marks an important milestone for the crypto industry in Japan, as the country has seen over 7,000 cases of suspected money laundering reported in 2018 alone. None of the investigations resulted in arrests, and no criminal cases have been made—until now.