News hardware NFT: so five French hackers managed to steal millions of euros in Bored Ape
As the prices of some NFT collections rise, hackers have found a new gold mine. These digitally certified art images can be worth a fortune and usually arouse evil wishes. Recently, French justice seized 5 French pirates who stole 2.5 million euros in non-fungible tokens, including some pieces from the famous Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) collection.
5 people indicted for NFT theft
Yesterday five French residents aged between 19 and 24 were indicted on suspicion of organized theft of NFT. In fact, the interested parties are accused of stealing the ownership of several non-fungible tokens.
Recall that an NFT is in a sense a virtual ownership certificate issued on a blockchain (in this case Ethereum). Leveraging this technology, NFTs provide ownership rights associated with an “object” in a virtual ledger that anyone can view. This technology has been used extensively in digital art by creating the speculative bubble we have seen recently.
The five individuals would then have found a way to fraudulently recover ownership of a good number of NFTs from various popular collections. Among these we find in particular the monkeys of the popular collection: Bored Ape Yacht Club. Since the beginning of their illicit activities, at the end of 2021, it is estimated that the young hackers have amassed a loot of 2.5 million euros according to the prosecutor’s office of Paris at the AFP. If the investigation has yet to expand with the arrival of new elements, we already know a lot about the modus operandi …
Twitter account tracks down NFT scammers
Although the Paris prosecutor’s office opened an investigation on August 23, the case is not new. The survey, in fact, begins in 2021.
Right now, a certain ZachXBT is looking into the transactions of the NFT Bored Ape Yacht Club. It is important to remember that these monkey images, valued at several hundred thousand euros, are generally the subject of fraudulent attacks – and are generally a simplistic modus operandi.
Through his research, the budding investigator discovers that individuals are using a phishing site with the goal of recovering victims’ NFTs. The undercover site specifically offered the opportunity for the owners of these tokens to transform a static image into an animated gif. Shared across several Discord servers, including Bored Ape’s, the site allowed attackers to retrieve NFT when an individual linked their wallet to it.
In total, the Paris prosecutor’s office has identified five victims. Among these, the collector Dilly Dilly had 3 NFTs stolen, including a Bored Ape worth almost 1 million euros.
To cover their tracks, the young pirates sold their loot smoothly and deposited cryptocurrency funds in protocols such as Tornado Cash, allowing transactions to be anonymised.
Despite their precautions, ZachXBT was able to track down the criminals. To do this, he simply checked the source code of the phishing website. In it a pseudo telegram was indicated which then allowed the social networks of various pirates to be identified. Once the evidence was in hand, the famous ZachXBT relayed the information to the relevant authorities.
This event is a reminder that NFTs became prime targets after their rise in value. Therefore, to protect yourself from this type of risk, if you are a collector, it is essential not to link your crypto wallet to questionable sites and even less to approve the execution of smart contracts.