Cybersecurity expert steals $9 million in cryptocurrency

A rogue cybersecurity expert used his skills to attack a cryptocurrency exchange

A cybersecurity professional has been indicted by the US government for infiltrating a cryptocurrency exchange and pilfering approximately $9 million worth of digital currency. This incident seems to involve a lawful expert-turned-renegade who then tried to redeem himself.

Shakeeb Ahmed, a 34-year-old cybersecurity expert, has been accused by the US Attorney’s Office (AO) for the Southern District of New York of cybertheft. According to a press release issued on Tuesday, Ahmed previously worked for an unidentified international technology company, and his expertise lies in areas such as smart contract engineering and blockchain audits. These very skills were deployed by Ahmed during the perpetration of the attack.

Prosecutors refrained from mentioning the company he may have targeted, but the particulars and timeframe of the breach correlated with the assault on Crema Finance, an exchange centered on Solana. This incident occurred in early July 2022, aligning closely with the day Ahmed supposedly pulled off his hacks, according to the AO’s complaint.

The hacker stole $9 million in crypto before returning approximately $8 million of it. According to a press statement released by the Department of Justice (DOJ), Ahmed engaged in a conversation with the “crypto exchange” wherein he expressed his intention to return the majority of the funds, excluding $1.5 million.

This proposition was offered under the condition that the company refrained from involving the police. However, it didn’t work. Ahmed now faces charges of wire fraud and money laundering. The latter comes from his attempt to hide his stolen crypto by swapping the digital currency between tokens.

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