Kingpin: “This is how I ‘hacked’ a cryptocurrency wallet with $2 million. Now I want to convert it into a job”

admin March 30, 2022 46 Views
Updated 2022/03/30 at 4:21 AM
13 Min Read
Kingpin: “This is how I ‘hacked’ a cryptocurrency wallet with  million.  Now I want to convert it into a job”
Kingpin: “This is how I 'hacked' a cryptocurrency wallet with $2 million. Now I want to convert it into a job" Listen to this article

“I forgot the password,” his friend told Dan Reich, an electrical engineer and startup founder in New York. The password was for a wallet with Theta, which is a cryptocurrency. In 2018, the two bought Theta worth $50,000, and by the end of 2020, after spending no more than a few cents, Started climbing. $50,000 in just three months was almost $2.5 million. Reach’s friend who forgot the password is a professional poker player. Her task is to remember precisely: “Memorize the registration numbers of our friends from high school. Play poker to play 8 tables at a time and remember how dozens of different players play.” Reich wrote in an article on his website.

There was an additional problem. The crypto wallet, which is a kind of USB stick, was self-deleting after 16 wrong attempts. And they had a dozen. As a good electronics engineer, Reich knew there had to be another solution: “Chats with our friends were getting ridiculous,” he explains. “If we can’t find a technical way to release the money, we’ll find a chemical way: We’ll leave for a weekend and I’ll feed him hallucinogens until he remembers the password.” The matter was serious.

Finally, Joe Grande found him after finding a mysterious secret Swiss group with a laboratory in Paris that didn’t refuse them. Grand is known as the kingpin in the hacker community. He was the youngest member of the legendary group L0pht, having appeared in the Senate in 1998 with his hair, suit and face on. nerds To answer a wonderful question from a senator: “I’ve been told that in 30 minutes you can make seven internets useless to the whole country.” “Right,” he replied. Grand is now dedicated to delivering classes and courses around the world. But, deep down, he says in a video call with EL PAÍS from his lab in Portland (Oregon, USA): “I’m still a 16-year-old hacker who likes to harass people.”

YouTube video

Dan Reich told Grand about his case in February 2021. It was a time of pandemic and Grande spent time trying to find a solution. Grand is a hardware hacker, a special category in his world. To retrieve the information inside the wallet the attack must be at the chip level, not just with the code. In crypto, money can only be accessed with your private key, which is kept in these wallets. Without that key, protected by a low-digit password in Reach’s case, there’s nothing to do.

The two agreed to record the entire process in a professional video. The recording took place in May 2021, but the video was only uploaded to YouTube on January 24. In three weeks, it had an incredible figure of over 4 million views and now it’s already at 4.6 million. The 32-minute video manages to wonderfully explain the complexity of the technical attack process and the solutions Grand is providing: “hacking It’s not what you see in movies,” says Grand in the video. “It’s a big roller coaster, solving puzzles, forcing computers and hardware to do things they weren’t expected to do, you want them to break down their function in a way that you can control.” can do it.”

YouTube video

Now Reich and Grand, among others, are partners in a new company Who wants to help above all crypto owners who have lost access to their portfolio. Can’t explain the incredible success of Grand Video, which was an article in ledge, “Whatever it is, it shows that people have problems with cryptocurrencies, it is not an easy thing to use,” he says. “They are overwhelming us with emails, hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of messages,” he says. Some have come from Spain and Latin America.

Not all cases are of crypto wallets with lost money. There are people who have been scammed and are looking for help, others have an encrypted device and don’t know how to access it. “But then there are some who are good, legitimate cases of problems that we can help. It is exciting to see this kind of response,” he says. Portfolio issuance is particularly interesting because its benefits are a percentage of the money realized.

Grand has been in contact over the past year with one of the most notorious cases of losing money. Although there are more than we can imagine: a widely cited report Chainanalysis says that 20% of bitcoins in circulation are not owners. There are several billion euros. James Howells threw away a hard drive that contained its keys and kept another that didn’t. His case has come up everywhere. The BBC has an article with one of these most obvious phrase From the Annals of Journalism: “Howells says he wishes he hadn’t thrown out the hard drive.” It’s not hard to get into the mind of someone who lives in a Welsh city and can and doesn’t make over €200m.

The problem, according to Grand, is the community, not the technicality. You need permission to delete the dump in order to find the hard drive. “He’s been trying to come to terms with this fact for almost 10 years,” Grande explains of his conversation with Howells. “I have hope. I believe that with the right processes and the right people it can happen. It’s a good story because he threw a hard drive, but nobody cares. The question is how to benefit the community,” he explains.

Grand. manufacturing company she’s not the only one who’s seen the rock In recovering lost wallets with millions in crypto. There’s another problem in this area: Not all people who think they have millions actually do. “I have spoken to people who do this and they say that they are in a constant state of despair. Many times they tell you they have money and then you get $2. A lot of people exaggerate,” Grand says.

This new grand business is not only a technical challenge, but also a significant one. With the grand lockdown, he asked himself big questions when facing IT challenges: “I got burned. I lost energy to engineering and even hacking. I was traveling like crazy with 18-hour stressful days traveling and designing products,” he says. Those products were “near” to reach the famous Def Con hacker conventions, which are works of engineering art with the intrinsic challenges of electronics, hardware, code analysis or cryptography. The work earned prestige within the community, but the effort required was exhausted.

“I was wondering how my life is, why are people going to miss me. Everyone has done something that can be memorable and no one is going to give a damn about it, you become a footnote to something. So I accepted my mortality, I guess. I came to the conclusion of doing only what I love”, he says. The crypto wallet hacking came at just the right time.

With the calm of the lockdown, he was able to spend three months figuring out how to attack Dan Reich’s crypto wallet. It was from Treasure Brand, probably the most popular. The software was outdated, which Grand took advantage of to carry out the attack. But he has no problem with other challenges: “Everything is hackableEverything,” he says. Although the older version of Trezor Software facilitated the attack, Grand has the resources to access the newer versions, which he has not disclosed for now.

Of course, Trezor doesn’t like being the hero of a video attack that’s watched by millions. They ran to confirm that the attack was useless today, that it had been patched. Grand understands his position: “When something like this comes up, they don’t like it very much. And I feel bad and I’d love to help them,” he says. But Grand has bigger reasons: “My purpose is to get people to think and see things they haven’t seen. It’s like kicking the hive a bit to get pressure and fix products or raise awareness. Happen hacker It is meant to show the side that is probably controversial and which people may not like. People see it as magic, but it is not.”

Grand drew up a card to dodge parking meters in the city or ordered garage doors to be opened: with each click the code it sent changed and the door finally opened. “I promise I’ll never use it for anything,” he says.

“I am one hacker Which gives equal opportunity: I am not loyal to anything and I question if I do not trust everything”, he added. For this reason, Grand is a “technical minimalist”: technology is his lifeblood, but he uses as little as is strictly necessary because he knows its risks. On mobile it only has calls and maps, no social networks nor email.

“I try to divide,” he says. “And I know that when I use a smartphone, I am being tracked by my phone. So there is a limit, but I am aware of what the technology is and what the companies that are giving you do with your data”, he adds.

“I don’t have an Amazon Echo or Alexa, because I know that even though they say it only listens when you say ‘Hey Alexa,’ that’s not true, because when you say it, it’s hard to hear it.” You have to listen to it. Alexa,” he explains the reason. He adds: “I only use what I need to use, and only if it has a specific purpose and I won’t bring those things into the house unless they have a purpose.”

With his new project, he hopes that people will understand the positive side of the world. hacker: “People like to see what’s hackers Those who do good work,” he says.

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