They hacked “for fun”: they stole USD 600 million in cryptocurrencies and then returned half to their owners

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They hacked “for fun”: they stole USD 600 million in cryptocurrencies and then returned half to their owners

EPO/SASCHA STEINBACH/Archive
EPO/SASCHA STEINBACH/Archive

Shortly after carrying out the largest hack in the history of cryptocurrencies, the hackers guilty of the deed changed their minds. After stealing more than $600 million in digital currencies from the Poly Network, hackers shocked the world by returning $260 million of that amount.

Poly Network is a decentralized finance network (DeFi) that allows users to transact, buy, and sell cryptocurrencies. It also has its own token called Matic. Once the hack was completed, he posted on Twitter, as a message to the hacker, that the attacker would have problems with the “law enforcement forces” for stealing from network users.

The message may have worked, as the hacker(s) responded that they were ready to return the stolen funds, but needed some way to get them back to Poly Network. The company provided addresses to send the cryptocurrencies and they began to be sent. The hackers say they did this not only “for fun”, but also because it would make them “an eternal legend”, in their words.

Shortly after receiving the money back, Poly Network acknowledged, through its official Twitter account, that there are USD 353 million that remain untraceable.

On Tuesday, August 10, the blockchain-based platform was hacked. Chainanalysis, a company dedicated to blockchain analysis, claimed that hackers took advantage of a flaw in Poly Network’s digital contracts that facilitate the movement of cryptocurrencies through blockchains.

The Polygon cryptocurrency network
The Polygon cryptocurrency network

According to Reutersthe firm also accessed some messages from the hackers, who claimed to have done so “for fun” in hopes of exposing the Poly Network vulnerability before anyone else.

The suspected hackers also claimed that returning the tokens was always part of the plan, saying “We are not very interested in money.” Even then, it remains unclear who is behind the biggest hack in crypto history.

This huge heist alerted investors around the world, and questioned the safety of cryptocurrencies. The CEO of Tether, Jan Ludovic, the third largest cryptocurrency in the world and in turn the most important among the stable coinsannounced that the company has frozen $33 million after the attack and promised assistance to Poly Network.

Cryptocurrency intelligence company CipherTrace claimed that DeFi-related attacks have reached an all-time high. Decentralized finance platforms allow transactions between two parties directly and without any type of intermediaries such as banks or stock exchanges.

Last year was a good year for cryptocurrencies, with prices rising and the creation of thousands of them. While DeFi makes transactions easier and lowers costs, it is feared that the technological risks may start to outweigh the benefits at the current rate of hacking.. This year, more millions of dollars in cryptocurrency have been stolen than in any previous year, even discounting this latest big hack.

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