A Florida man from the city of Pinellas Park has been charged with stealing close to $600 thousand worth of crypto assets.
How He Stole the Crypto
According to the Clearwater Police Department, Aaron Motta gained access to the victim’s crypto assets while working on his home computer. During work to install a security system in the home, Motta took the victim’s hardware wallet that held a crypto investment worth over $600K. According to the police, Motta was able to access the victim’s passwords since they were stored close to the wallet.
Motta used the password to access the Trezor wallet and transferred crypto worth $575,910.61 to multiple wallets he controlled. According to a LinkedIn profile, Motta says he is a former cyber security engineer, an IT manager, and an ethical hacker. According to the police report, his victim was an elderly gentleman of 65 years.
According to a local media report, Motta was booked in county jail but he was later released after he posted the $60,000 bail. He has been charged with two felonies including offenses against computer users, and grand theft. If convicted, he could face up to 30 years in Florida state prison.
A Lesson on Storing Crypto Safely
While the owner of the stolen crypto appears to have taken the right steps by storing crypto on a hardware wallet, they dropped the ball in terms of password security. As has been advised by many experts in the security world, you need to store the recovery phrase as well as the password for a hardware wallet in a secure location. Preferably, the hardware wallet should have been stored in a secure, locked location, where it was not easy to access.
While it does not justify Motta’s action, taking steps to secure your private property is important. For such a large amount of crypto, a safety deposit box would also have been more sensible. However, one of the most important assets a crypto hodler should have is secrecy and anonymity. As long as no one knows you have the crypto, they will not think to look for a hardware wallet in your home. It should be stored out of sight and never discussed in any setting.
After all, one of the biggest security measures BTC holders have besides strong passwords for their crypto holdings is anonymity. A good idea of the power of anonymity to secure a huge amount of BTC is Satoshi Nakamoto, whose real name remains a mystery to the masses.
As crypto markets continue to experience maturation, it is expected that hardware wallets will grow in popularity. The main driver here is crypto enthusiasts socializing and pushing retail investors off centralized exchanges. The pros and cons of this are for another time, but investors must learn how to leverage hardware wallets before they go marching into that world…
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