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White Hacker Turns Black: $9M Crypto Heist

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ByMarcel Bich

Aug 15, 2023
White Hacker Turns Black: $9M Crypto Heist
Marcel Bich
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A former cybersecurity specialist is facing charges for allegedly hacking a cryptocurrency exchange and stealing approximately $9 million worth of digital currency. Despite his background as a “white hacker,” the individual turned to illicit activities, although he maintained his lawful facade until the end.

The 34-year-old Shakib Ahmed, previously employed as a senior security engineer at a prominent technology company, has been charged with grand theft and money laundering by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.

Ahmed’s professional profile reveals expertise in reverse engineering smart contracts and blockchain auditing, specialized skills that may have been exploited for malicious purposes.

While the specific organization where Ahmed worked is undisclosed in official documents, his LinkedIn profile links him to Amazon. Amazon representatives have confirmed his past employment but stated that he is no longer associated with the company.

Although the attacked exchange is not explicitly mentioned in the charges, it aligns with reports from CoinDesk, which identified Crema Finance, a Solana-based exchange targeted in early July 2022. The dates coincide with those mentioned in the indictment against the former Amazon security specialist.

After pilfering approximately $9 million worth of cryptocurrency, the hacker allegedly reached an agreement with the exchange. He returned the majority of the stolen funds but intended to keep $1.5 million for purported “pentest services” while returning the remaining $7.5 million on the condition that the exchange refrained from reporting the incident to law enforcement.
Cyberattack and Crypto Fraud: Unraveling Ahmed’s Trail
According to the indictment, Ahmed exploited vulnerabilities within the exchange, manipulating pricing data to fraudulently generate inflated commissions that he did not legitimately earn but still managed to withdraw.

The stolen cryptocurrency was then allegedly laundered through various transactions, including token exchanges and switching between the Solana and Ethereum blockchains, among others.

Furthermore, Ahmed’s online activities revealed searches related to the hacking attack, legal implications, experienced lawyers, potential law enforcement investigations, and even fleeing the United States to evade criminal charges.

It appears that the hacker’s search queries were not cautious enough, leaving a trail. Each charge against him carries a maximum penalty of up to 20 years in prison. While the ultimate worth of his actions remains uncertain, the attacker undoubtedly wishes he had made different choices a year ago.

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Marcel Bich

Marcel ‘s passion for the world of cryptocurrencies and his comprehensive knowledge of blockchain technology make him an invaluable asset to our team. He stays updated on the latest trends, regulations, and emerging technologies in the crypto space, ensuring that our audience receives accurate and up-to-date information.