A real-life armed robbery of an online Bitcoin exchange

Suspects, armed with handguns, ended up leaving empty-handed.

Graham Cluley
Graham Cluley
@[email protected]

A real-life robbery of an online Bitcoin exchange

The story goes that many old-style criminals have turned their attention to the internet.

After all, there’s plenty of money to made out on the wild world web – you can hack someone’s account from the other side of the world, and benefit from the anonymity that the internet can provide.

Certainly if I was a criminal I would lean more towards committing my offence online than pulling up outside a sub-Post Office in a Ford Cortina, and risk having a a sprightly grandmother wallop me with her handbag while she’s collecting her pension.

Sign up to our free newsletter.
Security news, advice, and tips.

The statistics appear to bear this theory out. In 1992 there were 291 bank robberies in London, for instance, making it an almost daily occurrence. By 2012, the figure had dropped to just 26.

But that’s not to say that everyone has given up on real-life crime in this digital age, as Motherboard reported last week:

Three men entered the offices of a Bitcoin exchange—an online marketplace where people buy and sell cryptocurrencies—in Ottawa, Ontario, armed with handguns.

On that below-zero morning in Canada’s capital, police say, the intruders bound four employees and struck one in the head with a handgun before leaving empty-handed. A fifth employee in another room called the police.

The criminals left empty-handed. Which, let’s face it, is probably the likely outcome for many Bitcoin investors too.

More details, including photographs of men that the authorities would like to question in relation to the attempted robbery, can be found in a press release from Ottawa Police.

Anyone with information regarding this robbery is asked to call the Ottawa Police’s Robbery Unit at 613-236-1222, ext. 5116. Anonymous tips can be submitted by calling Crime Stoppers toll free at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS), or by downloading the Ottawa Police app.

Graham Cluley is an award-winning keynote speaker who has given presentations around the world about cybersecurity, hackers, and online privacy. A veteran of the computer security industry since the early 1990s, he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows, makes regular media appearances, and is the co-host of the popular "Smashing Security" podcast. Follow him on Twitter, Mastodon, Threads, Bluesky, or drop him an email.

What do you think? Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.