A cybersecurity analyst and self-styled “ethical hacker” stole nearly $600,000 in crypto from an elderly client while installing a security system in their home, reports Tampa Bay Times.
Aaron Motta, who calls himself an ethical hacker on LinkedIn, stumbled across his elderly client’s Trezor wallet and corresponding password while working on their computer.
The crooked tech wizard then proceeded to drain the hard wallet of cryptocurrency worth nearly $576,000 at the time. He attempted to hide the theft by authorizing transactions to several crypto wallets under his control.
The Clearwater Police Department charged the Floridian with grand theft and offenses against computer users.
He spent a few hours in Pinellas County Jail on Friday but got out on Saturday after posting a $60,000 bail bond.
Cybersecurity expert turned crypto crook
Motta’s disheveled mugshot circulated to the media by his local police department is a stark contrast to his own carefully curated public image.
According to his LinkedIn profile, Motta has run his own cybersecurity business for more than two years.
It says he is a “Certified Ethical Hacker, specializing in cyber analysis and endpoint management for Small Businesses and startup companies and application developers.”
His profile also states that he’s “trusted and vouched for” and has provided cybersecurity for individuals, businesses, and medical doctors.
Cold wallets may be safer but they’re not 100% secure
Motta’s client isn’t the first cold wallet user to have their crypto compromised.
Hardware wallets like Trezor devices keep cryptocurrency in “cold-storage,” meaning that it doesn’t sit on the internet. Some consider this a safer option compared to online-hosted hot wallets.
However, they are still vulnerable if adequate precautions aren’t taken. Indeed, last year French crypto wallet maker Ledger suffered a data breach. Users received fake devices which delivered their cryptocurrency straight to scammers.
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