Crypto hacker returns $600m heist funds & Offered $500k + Immunity

Jesse Williams

By Jesse Williams

Jesse Williams

13 Aug 2021

A hacker who stole over $600m (£433m) in cryptocurrency may be spared jail after being offered $500,000 as well as immunity as a reward for returning the money.

Poly Network, a platform that looks to connect different blockchains so that they can work together, disclosed the attack Tuesday and asked to establish communication with the hackers, urging them to “return the hacked assets.”

Lucky for them the cybercriminal who exploited their vulnerable security did just that sending a message to Poly Network embedded in a cryptocurrency transaction saying they were “ready to return” the funds.

The last reported number from PolyNetwork had the total returned loot at $342m.

“I think this demonstrates that even if you can steal cryptoassets, laundering them and cashing out is extremely difficult, due to the transparency of the blockchain and the use of blockchain analytics,” Tom Robinson, chief scientist of blockchain analytics firm Elliptic, said via email.

“In this case the hacker concluded that the safest option was just to return the stolen assets.”

However the hackers themselves said in digital messages shared by Elliptic that they had perpetrated the attack “for fun” and wanted to “expose the vulnerability” before others could exploit it and that it was “always” the plan to return the tokens.

A former FBI official said said in regards to immunity that, “private companies have no authority to promise immunity from criminal prosecution.”