Teen clipboard hackers who stole $800K Bitcoin could still get away with it

Two teen clipboard hackers took 16.4 Bitcoin in 2018. Now it's worth over $800,000 — but parents say the statute of limitations ran out.

Parents of two teenage hackers who allegedly stole nearly a million dollars in Bitcoin by hacking their victim’s clipboard say time has run out to sue, reports Krebs on Security.

According to a civil lawsuit filed in Colorado, the two teens used sophisticated malware to intercept a Bitcoin transfer made by Andrew Schober in January 2018.

Neither parent disputes the theft took place — but argue an expired statute of limitations means the case should be dismissed.

16.4 BTC was taken from Schober’s wallet, about $150,000 at the time. Today, it’s worth just over $800,000.

Clipboard hijacking relies on victims copying and pasting long wallet addresses instead of typing them out one character at a time.

  • The malware waits for a wallet address to appear in the victim’s clipboard. 
  • A legitimate wallet address is swapped out for one belonging to the hacker.
  • The victim fails to notice the change and unwittingly confirms the cryptocurrency transfer.

The pair allegedly hid the malware in the code of Bitcoin wallet ‘Electrum Atom,’ which Schober downloaded from Reddit.

Private investigators tracked Bitcoin clipboard hackers

Schober says he spent more than $10,000 on a years-long private investigation, which proves the teenagers were behind the clipboard hijacking attacks.

Investigators hired by Schober:

  • followed the stolen funds through crypto exchanges,
  • linked the funds to the teens,
  • found the malware code in one of the hackers’ GitHub library.

Letters were sent to their parents but they failed to respond. A lawsuit was filed in May 2021.

Schober’s lawyers say the parents are also liable for not responding to the letters. The teens were both minors at the time of the alleged crime.

A portion of the letter Schuber sent to the parents of the Bitcoin clipboard hackers.

Read more: [Crypto goon gets 5 years in prison for $4M ‘decentralized bank’ ICO scam]

One parent listed as a defendant recently filed a motion to represent herself and her son instead of hiring an attorney.

Now, the family hopes the three-year-and-five-month gap between the clipboard hijacking and the lawsuits means they’re off the hook.

But Schober’s lawyers say the statute of limitations shouldn’t apply, because Schober didn’t understand the injury until an investigation concluded the Bitcoin was stolen via clipboard malware.

Lawyers argue that its code was written to be intentionally invisible.

So, until a court decides, the matter is stuck in a peculiar legal limbo.

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