The criminals demanded a payment in virtual currency for $950k USD in exchange for releasing a businessman, who is still missing
Network security and ethical hacking specialists from the International Institute of Cyber Security reported an unusual incident. A criminal group kidnapped a businessman and, at the time of demanding the ransom, they specified that the payment should be made through the cryptocurrency known as Bitcoin.
The kidnapped businessman was identified as William Sean Creighton Kopko, owner of an online gambling platform. The man was reported missing in Costa Rica since last September 2018.
According to reports recovered by network security specialists, a dozen people have been arrested in connection with this crime; the arrests were carried out by the police agencies of Spain and Costa Rica.
Creighton Kopko’s family had to pay the aforementioned ransom through a Bitcoin transaction valued at $950k USD, however, once the transaction was completed, the kidnappers stopped communicating with the victim’s family. To date, the businessman’s whereabouts remain unknown.
According to the investigations, the kidnappers would have fled from Costa Rica to Cuba and subsequently flew to Spain in November 2018. Once they arrived in Spanish territory, the kidnappers would have rented an apartment in Zaragoza, where they would be eventually arrested.
Multiple criminal groups have shown special interest in the world of cryptocurrency, so the accumulation of Bitcoin has become a serious matter, as mentioned by the specialists in network security.
According to reports from the authorities, this same criminal group impersonated a team of students interested in learning about virtual currencies to contact Bitcoin users, blackmailing and/or cheating them to get access passwords to their online cryptocurrency wallets.
In recent times, there have been cases where, in exchange for releasing a family hostage, criminal groups ask victims to pay through this kind of virtual assets, hoping to maintain their anonymity to keep the authorities away and, of course, keep committing crimes.
Cybersecurity experts from the International Cyber Security Institute fear that such crimes will become a widely practiced trend in the future.