On August 10, hackers managed to steal $ 610 million in cryptocurrency with a bold digital attack exploiting a vulnerability in Poly network, a platform used to allow transactions between different blockchains. In a bizarre event, hackers have returned more than half of their score after details of the fake transactions were released to the public.
Poly Network functions as a "DeFi" or decentralized financing platform that eliminates the intermediary (brokers, mainly), providing peer-to-peer financial transactions in various public blockchains. This means that a Bitcoin user can transact with an Ethereum user, which is not possible on other platforms as the currencies operate in separate blockchains.
In what Poly Network calls "the largest DeFi theft in history," hackers found a way to manipulate transactions so that they could divert millions of dollars from more than a dozen different cryptocurrencies to three separate digital wallet addresses.
Once the theft occurred, Poly Network took to Twitter, demanding the return of the stolen assets to hackers. Then, the company took the dramatic step of publishing the addresses of the digital wallets of thieves online and ask miners and cryptographic exchanges to blacklist all tokens that come from these addresses.
With this information made public, the company was able to mark illegal transactions, basically revealing a fingerprint for every dollar stolen. Hackers found $ 600 million that they can't use because everyone knows they stole it. It's as if packages of dyes hidden in piles of money explode after a burglary, making everything bright pink and unusable.
Surprisingly, Poly Network took to Twitter this morning to tell it that it is now working with the alleged hacker, named White Hat, who has been returning parts of the stolen funds all day.
"I think this shows that even if you can steal cryptographic assets, wash them and collect them is extremely difficult, due to the transparency of the blockchain and the use of the & # 39; blockchain analytics, "said Tom Robinson, chief scientist at Elliptic Blockchain Analysis firm, when asked. CNBC.
According to Poly Network & # 39; s Twitter account, as of Aug. 12, hackers returned $ 342 million (more than half the amount stolen), with a $ 268 million Ethereum pending. Despite being called Mr. White Hat, a term that refers to ethical hackers, there is no evidence that the person or group who committed the crime had good intentions.