How Cambodia-based scammers made an estimated $3 million in ‘pig butchering’ scheme

Last October, Sean Gallagher received an unexpected text message from a young Malaysian woman calling herself Harley.

She said she ran a wine business in Vancouver that was struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and as a result Harley learned how to make money through cryptocurrency trading. She was willing to share her secrets, she said. Gallagher, a senior threat researcher at cybersecurity firm Sophos, happily accepted.

The conversation with Harley led him to discover a Cambodia-based threat actor, which he dubbed “Sour Grapes,” that allegedly made over $3 million in cryptocurrency over a period of five months through a so-called pig butchering scheme.

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