Phillipe Christodoulou had 17.1 BTC stored on a Trezor hardware device until a few days ago when he installed a scam app on his iPhone. Shocking, no doubt about that, but what’s really crazy is that he downloaded the app from App Store.
Not only was the app available on Apple’s official online store, but it looked 100% legit from his perspective. It had an identical logo to the company that made the hardware wallet he was using, plus, the app had a large number of positive reviews, totaling its rate to nearly five stars.
Phillipe found the app in App Store, downloaded it, and entered his credentials to log in to his wallet. Instead of being able to check how much are his BTC savings worth, he wasn’t able to do anything – the fake app robbed him of 17.1 Bitcoin or about $600,000 at the time.
Christodoulou Blames Apple for the Loss of 17.1 BTC
Phillipe Christodoulou blames Apple for the loss of 17.1 Bitcoin, the reason being that the company markets App Store as “the world’s most trusted marketplace for apps.”
It’s true that Apple scans and reviews every submission to App Store, however, as the recent example shows, their system is far from perfect. Even though the company invests over 15% of its sales commission in App Store on funding the customer experience, cybercriminals do manage to find ways to outsmart them.
In this particular case, the most likely way they did it was by creating a legitimate app, which they turned into a criminal one after getting approval from Apple.
Such scenarios happen very often, but Apple has been quick to spot them. Once a fraudulent app is discovered, the company not only removes it from App Store but also bans its developers.
Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean much to Phillipe Christodoulou, who has no means of getting back his cryptocurrency savings.
Crypto Thefts Are Way More Common Than You Might Think
The case of Phillipe Christodoulou losing 17.1 Bitcoins is just one of many examples of cybercrime involving cryptos. In fact, some of the biggest online thefts in history happened since the rise of cryptocurrencies.
For instance, last year someone stole over $275 million from the cryptocurrency exchange called KuCoin. A North Korean hacker group was blamed for the theft.
The same year, hackers used Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak’s image in a fake YouTube crypto giveaway to scam people off their money.
Rewind to 2018 and someone’s stolen $534 million from the Japanese exchange Coincheck. A year earlier, the infamous Mt. Gox hack happened.
According to a study from a few months ago, crypto criminals stole a total of almost $2 billion worth of cryptocurrencies in 2020. Sounds a lot? Sure, but we saw a decrease in crypto crime last year when compared to 2019. That year, cybercriminals stole cryptos worth about $4.5 billion in total.
The good news is that generally speaking, the crypto universe is getting safer as time goes by. Even though the number of cryptocurrency users is at an all-time high, the number of crypto thefts and scams that have happened in 2021 is reasonably low. Advanced security features, institutional involvement, and user cautiousness are probably the main reasons for that.