Ex-Amazon safety engineer admits to stealing over $12M in crypto

Shakeeb Ahmed, a former safety engineer at Amazon, has pleaded responsible to fees of hacking and stealing over $12.3 million from two crypto exchanges in July 2022. This high-profile cybercrime incident, in line with BleepingComputer reporting, has despatched shockwaves by the cryptocurrency neighborhood, highlighting the vulnerabilities of decentralized finance platforms.

The 2 exchanges victimized by Ahmed’s refined hacking abilities have been Nirvana Finance, a decentralized crypto alternate, and an unnamed alternate working on the Solana blockchain platform. Using his experience in blockchain audit and sensible contract reverse engineering, Ahmed orchestrated a posh scheme to govern and exploit these platforms.

Ahmed’s first goal was the undisclosed crypto alternate on the Solana blockchain. He manipulated a wise contract to introduce false pricing knowledge, which led to the technology of roughly $9 million in inflated charges. After withdrawing these funds, Ahmed openly provided to return the stolen quantity, minus $1.5 million, on the situation that the alternate wouldn’t contain legislation enforcement. This assault intently resembles the breach that impacted the Crema Finance decentralized finance platform in July 2022.

Following this preliminary hack, Ahmed turned his consideration to Nirvana Finance. He exploited a loophole within the DeFi protocol’s sensible contract, taking a flash mortgage of ANA cryptocurrency tokens at a low worth and promoting them again at a better charge. This maneuver netted him round $3.6 million. Regardless of being provided a $300,000 bounty to return the stolen belongings, Ahmed refused, demanding $1.4 million and finally resulting in the shutdown of Nirvana Finance after no settlement was reached.

Evading seize and concealing the crypto heist

In an effort to evade seize and obscure the digital path of his illicit features, Ahmed employed numerous ways. He used cryptocurrency mixers, together with Samourai Whirlpool, and transferred funds throughout the Solana and Ethereum blockchains. He additionally used international exchanges to transform the stolen hundreds of thousands into Monero, a cryptocurrency favored for its enhanced privateness options.

Ahmed’s on-line actions revealed his intentions to flee the US and keep away from authorized penalties. He researched methods to thwart asset seizures, safe citizenship in numerous international locations, and evade extradition, indicating a transparent plan to flee justice.

U.S. Legal professional Damian Williams commented on the case, stating, “5 months in the past, my Workplace introduced the first-ever arrest involving an assault on a wise contract. Right this moment, senior safety engineer Shakeeb Ahmed pled responsible and agreed to return all the stolen crypto to his victims. That arrest is now the first-ever conviction for such a hack.”

Ahmed’s responsible plea to a single pc fraud cost carries a most imprisonment time period of 5 years. He has agreed to compensate his victims with a sum totaling $5,071,074.23 and can forfeit over $12.3 million, together with roughly $5.6 million value of fraudulently obtained cryptocurrency. His sentencing is scheduled for March 13, 2024, earlier than United States District Choose Victor Marrero.

This case serves as a stark reminder of the continued safety challenges confronted by the cryptocurrency {industry} and the necessity for strong protecting measures towards such refined cyberattacks.

Maxwell William

Maxwell William, a seasoned crypto journalist and content material strategist, has notably contributed to industry-leading platforms similar to Cointelegraph, OKX Insights, and Decrypt, weaving advanced crypto narratives into insightful articles that resonate with a broad readership.

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