Poloniex hacker moves stolen funds for first time, keeping $182m untouched

As a seasoned crypto investor who has witnessed the ups and downs of this dynamic market, I can’t help but express my concern upon hearing about the Poloniex hacker’s latest move to launder stolen assets through Tornado Cash. The news is particularly alarming given that this appears to be the first time such an action has been taken in the crypto world following the high-profile Poloniex hack last November, which resulted in the loss of almost $125 million.

The Poloniex cryptocurrency exchange hacker transferred 100 ETH to the Tornado Cash mixer.

As a cryptocurrency analyst, I’ve come across an intriguing piece of news by journalist Colin Wu. According to his report, this is the first known instance where a hacker has chosen to launder their ill-gotten gains. The value of the stolen digital assets, including Ethereum (ETH), Tron (TRX), Bitcoin (BTC), and Bitcoin Token (BTCT), amounts to approximately $182 million, still resides in the hacker’s wallet.

Today, the Poloniex hacker, identified by the Ethereum address 0x3E…fDFd, moved 100 ETH (approximately $308,000) to Tornado Cash for the first time. This transaction is believed to be related to money laundering activities. The Poloniex hacker currently holds over $182 million in crypto assets across various cryptocurrencies.— Wu Blockchain (@WuBlockchain) May 7, 2024

On November 10, 2023, Poloniex suffered a significant loss of approximately $125 million in cryptocurrencies as a result of a cyberattack. The exchange’s owner, Justin Sun, subsequently revealed that some of the assets linked to the attacker’s wallets had been identified and frozen. In a following announcement, Sun extended an offer for the hacker to return the stolen funds, in exchange for which they would receive a reward totaling $10 million.

Experts from Kronos Research’s cryptocurrency platform and Hundred Finance’s cross-chain lending protocol started moving funds towards the cryptocurrency tumbler, Tornado Cash.

PeckShield’s analytics team uncovered that an attacker performed an exploratory transaction valued at $200 in Ethereum (ETH). Subsequently, they moved a significant amount, approximately 1,314 ETH or nearly $4 million, to a newly created wallet. The hacker then carried out ten transactions of 100 ETH each from this final address, transferring the funds to Tornado Cash for concealed transactions.

The funds sent to Tornado Cash increased to 3,000 ETH for approximately $3 million.

A PeckShield Alert from Kronos Research reveals that the identified address has moved 200 ETH to Tornado.cash and around 1,314 ETH (equivalent to approximately $4 million) to a fresh address 0x164A…D5c4. Subsequently, they have initiated money laundering activities using Tornado.cash. Kronos Research suffered a hack in mid-November.— PeckShieldAlert (@PeckShieldAlert) May 7, 2024

Kronos Capital was hacked in November 2023 after attackers managed to access API keys.

Tornado Cash, a crypto mixer, has been under scrutiny since it was discovered to be used for laundering illegally obtained funds. In response, the U.S. government imposed sanctions on this service in August 2022. Its developers, including Alexey Pertsev, its co-founder, have been charged with money laundering and violations of sanctions. Towards the end of March, a five-year prison sentence was sought by the prosecutor’s office for Pertsev.

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2024-05-07 17:42