Authorities in Vietnam have caught and sentenced a hacker who stole money and data from a local cryptocurrency exchange. The man, who was arrested and charged for extorting the trading platform’s owner, has been ordered to return the money he misappropriated.
Vietnamese Court Jails Hacker for Attacking Crypto Exchange Website
A resident of Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam has been given 10 years in prison for stealing 300 million Vietnamese dong (close to $13,000) from a crypto entrepreneur whose coin trading site he subjected to cyberattacks.
Nham Hoang Khang, the hacker, was charged with extortion and sentenced on Friday by the city’s People’s Court, the English-language edition of the VN Express daily reported. He was also ordered to return the stolen money.
The crypto exchange was established by Vu Ngoc Chau in 2018 to connect potential buyers and sellers of cryptocurrencies, taking a fee for the transactions it facilitated. Users were required to open accounts and provide personal information such as phone number, email address and a copy of an ID document.
In October 2020, Khang used his phone to create multiple accounts on the platform. He discovered that the website, T-rex.exchange, had several vulnerabilities that could be exploited to get hold of both data and digital currency.
The following month, the hacker managed to gain control over the account of a T-rex employee and around 30,000 USDT. The team detected the unusual transactions and locked the account to prevent further operations with the cryptocurrency.
Once he found that he no longer had access to the compromised account, Khang obtained the personal data of 29,000 customers and created a large number of fake orders, while threatening with further attacks.
He also demanded to be paid $20,000, or else he would reveal that the exchange had been hacked. Chau, the owner, received multiple threats and eventually told his employees to send Khang 300 million dong. He filed a complaint with law enforcement authorities in mid-2021.
In Vietnam, cryptocurrencies are not legalized or regulated yet. Despite their popularity among traders and investors, bitcoin and the like remain unrecognized as assets or means of payment by the State Bank of Vietnam and Vietnamese law.