Almost 150 BTC stolen from Canadian exchange thanks to oblivious support worker

Almost 150 BTC were stolen from the Ottawa-based Bitcoin exchange Canadian Bitcoins in a very low-tech heist. The case happened in October 2013 and is now under investigation.

According to the Ottawa Citizen, the thief initiated a long chat session with Granite Networks, the company hosting Canadian Bitcoins’ server, while claiming to be the exchange’s owner, James Grant. He told the attendant he was experiencing problems while using the service and requested a reboot of the system into recovery mode, which allowed him to easily overcome all the exchange’s security barriers.

The attendant, who never asked the fraudster to verify his identity, granted access to Grant’s locked server pen, plugged into a laptop and then manually “opened the doors” to the exchange’s servers. Once inside, the suspect took 149.94 BTC from a digital wallet, around $89,000 according to the current exchange rate.

“It’s completely ridiculous. All they did was go on the chat session and say, ‘Hi, I’m James Grant and I have a server with you’ and the data centre said, ‘Yes you do, what can we do for you?’”, said the real owner of Canadian Bitcoins.

Rogers Communications, the company that owns Granite Networks issued a statement following the incident. “The situation surrounding this customer is unique to this customer, and does not apply to any other customer of Rogers Data Centers. Rogers has been fully cooperative with authorities in the investigation”, the firm explained.

The statement also says that Rogers Data Centers reviewed its security processes after the controversial heist.

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