Crypto Engineer Admits Hacking, Agrees to $17.3M Forfeit

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Engineer Admits Hacking

Shakeeb Ahmed, a 34-year-old security engineer, admits hacking and confessed to exploiting Nirvana Finance and another decentralized exchange, revealed the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.

Huge Forfeit and Restitution

Ahmed acknowledged his actions, agreeing to forfeit $12.3 million gained from the two hacks. He is also committed to paying $5 million in restitution to the victims.

Landmark Conviction

U.S. attorney Damian Williams highlighted the significance, noting Ahmed’s case as the first-ever conviction for hacking a smart contract, following an arrest announced five months ago.

2022 Exploits Unveiled

Charged with wire fraud and money laundering in July, Ahmed exploited a Solana-based exchange’s smart contract vulnerability, likely Crema Finance. Subsequently, he executed a $3.6 million attack on Nirvana Finance using flash loans and discovered smart contract exploits.

Failed Bounty Negotiations

Despite Nirvana Finance’s earnest attempt to amicably resolve the situation by extending a generous $600,000 bounty offer to Ahmed for the safe return of the pilfered funds, the negotiations reached an insurmountable roadblock. Ahmed, in a bold and uncompromising move, adamantly insisted on a significantly higher sum of $1.4 million, creating an unbridgeable chasm in the discussions. This impasse left both parties at an unresolved standstill, introducing an additional layer of complexity to an already intricate legal landscape surrounding the hacking incident. The failed negotiations not only underscore the gravity of the breach but also highlight the challenges in reaching a mutually agreeable resolution between the aggrieved platform and the perpetrator.

Laundering Techniques Revealed

To obscure the funds’ origins, Ahmed employed intricate techniques, including token-swap transactions, cross-blockchain bridging, Monero exchanges, and cryptocurrency mixers like Samourai Whirlpool.

Legal Consequences Await

Ahmed faces a potential maximum prison sentence of five years for his offenses. His sentencing is scheduled for March 13, marking the legal repercussions of his illicit activities.