Poly Network hacker returns nearly all $610M in stolen assets

in General Discussion edited August 2021
One of the largest cryptocurrency thefts in history has turned into one of the oddest, with the perpetrator or perpetrators returning nearly all $610 million in assets to victim Poly Network.

Poly Network

Earlier this week, decentralized finance platform Poly Network was hacked and an estimated $610 million in crypto swiped. The company pleaded with the attacker or attackers, urging them to return the funds and avoid prosecution.

As of Wednesday, the supposed hacker or hackers returned $260 million in assets, reports The Wall Street Journal. Another batch of returns brought that amount up to $342 million on Thursday, CNBC.

On Friday, most of the proceeds were sent back to Poly Network, though $268 million in assets are currently held in an account that requires keys from both the company and the attacker to access. The alleged hacker or hackers in a message embedded in a cryptocurrency transaction said they would "provide the final key when _everyone_ is ready," CNBC reports.

Another $33 million in tether is also outstanding, with those funds frozen in an attempt to recover the stolen tokens.

Communicating over a blockchain account used in the heist, the purported hacker or hackers claimed the end goal was to expose vulnerabilities in Poly Network's systems. The plan had always been to return the money, the they claimed.

"I am not very interested in money! I know it hurts when people are attacked, but shouldn't they learn something from those hacks?" one post reads, according to the WSJ.

On Friday, Poly Network said it offered a $500,000 "bug bounty" to an entity it has taken to calling "Mr. White Hat" for assisting in the improvement of the company's security.

"We would now like to thank his commitment for helping us improve Poly Network's security and hope he will help contribute to the blockchain sector's continued development upon accepting the Bug Bounty," Poly Network said, according the WSJ.

Analysts, however, believe "Mr. White Hat" might have had a change of heart after realizing stolen assets were more difficult to liquidate than originally planned due to the relatively transparent nature of blockchain technology on which cryptocurrencies are built.

Poly Network operates in the DeFi sector, which seeks to replicated traditional lending and trading systems using blockchain technologies. The firm offers customers the ability to transfer assets from one blockchain to another, among other services.

The theft involved bitcoin, ether, shiba inu, tether and more.

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  • Reply 1 of 4
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 6,088member
    For what it's worth, it looks like this type of cooperation makes the theft of crypto much more difficult.  It was was cold, hard cash I highly doubt these criminals would return anything.  I hope this signals the start of something to crack down of these kind of electronic thefts and legitimize cryptocurrency.
  • Reply 2 of 4
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,697member
    Just food for thought...  I wonder what would have been the solution had the value of the currency doubled, or halved for that matter, during the time it was in their wallet?
  • Reply 3 of 4
    payecopayeco Posts: 580member
    MacPro said:
    Just food for thought...  I wonder what would have been the solution had the value of the currency doubled, or halved for that matter, during the time it was in their wallet?
    I was thinking things along the same lines. Did the hackers return the same number of coins or the same value of coins? The most popular currencies were up between 5 and 8 percent during the period the crypto was in their possession. If they averaged a 7% increase in the value of the currency they held and only returned the same value of coins, not number of coins, that means they pocketed north of $40 million for their effort. 
  • Reply 4 of 4
    Catch me if you can 2: Tales from the crypto

    in the 2002 steven spielberg film based on a true story, Leonardo DiCaprio plays Frank Abagnale, a conman who had stolen millions of dollars before his 19th birthday. He was so successful as a cheque forger that the FBI hired him to catch other cheque forgers! Fast forward 20 years and the types of cons, conmen and the people who catch them, if they can, are all a little different. The Poly Network hacker who pulled off a $611M heist has been offered a job as the chief security advisor for the company. In a statement, they refer to him as Mr.White Hat, which is a reference to ethical hackers who search for vulnerabilities in systems that could expose them to cyberattacks. While he has returned most of the money, $200M worth of funds are still locked in password protected accounts, declaring that the private key will be provided 'once everybody is ready'. <play Simpsons parody?>Ready for what? And have they tried password123!? We're just waiting for the hacker to pull off his mask and show he was actually the incumbent chief security advisor of Poly Network all along.

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