Out of the USD 11.4 million of IOTA tokens (MIOTA) stolen, the majority has already been found, according to IOTA co-founder and co-chairman of its board Dominik Schiener.
However, the funds are still being held by law enforcement as evidence against the perpetrator that was recently arrested in Oxford, UK.
In an interview with Reuters, Schiener said, “From what we know, just a small amount of the 10 million euros has not been found […] The exchanges have blocked the hacker’s accounts. He tried to free the money, but he did not succeed.”
He also added that they initially thought the heist was the work of a well-organized criminal group, but that they now believe that it is the work of a single individual who “had a normal job and is well-educated.” The name of the hacker has not been disclosed as the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation (Europol) declined to do so in its statement last week.
The thefts started in January 2018, when the hacker, under the screen name Norbertvdberg, reportedly provided assistance to other IOTA users. In the meantime, he reportedly set up the website iotaseed.io, which he advertised as a random seed (password) generator, according to Europol. Also, according Europol, he collected the passwords and reportedly started stealing funds in January 2018. The hacker was identified in July 2018, and he was arrested on January 23rd on charges of fraud, theft, and money laundering.
Since November 2018, IOTA token holders have been able to store their coins on Ledger hardware wallets. The official press release at the time explained, “The Ledger hardware wallets integrate with the IOTA Trinity and Romeo Wallets and isolate user’s seeds (the key for their account) from their computer or smartphone, providing another layer of security from hackers. Users will be able to validate transactions on their Ledger hardware wallet as part of the security protocol.”