Info@NationalCyberSecurity
Info@NationalCyberSecurity

Cybersecurity Engineer Sentenced to Three Years in Prison for $12 Million Crypto Theft | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #ransomware


Shakeeb Ahmed, a cybersecurity engineer convicted of orchestrating a sophisticated crypto theft totaling approximately $12 million, has been sentenced to three years in prison. The sentencing was announced on Friday by the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, following Ahmed’s guilty plea to charges of hacking into two cryptocurrency exchanges.

According to prosecutors, Ahmed, described as a “senior security engineer for an international technology company,” utilized his expertise to infiltrate the security systems of two cryptocurrency exchanges. The first target was Crema Finance, a Solana-based exchange, where Ahmed allegedly pilfered a staggering $9 million in crypto. Subsequently, he targeted Nirvana Finance, seizing approximately $3.6 million in digital assets. The substantial losses incurred by Nirvana Finance led to the shutdown of the exchange.

Following his arrest, Ahmed attempted to negotiate with Crema Finance, offering to return the stolen funds in exchange for a fee of $1.5 million and a guarantee that the incident would not be reported to authorities. However, Crema declined the offer, leading to Ahmed’s apprehension.

While such negotiations, termed “white hatting” in the crypto world, are occasionally tolerated within the industry, law enforcement views them differently. Ahmed’s case underscores the discrepancy between industry norms and legal standards regarding cybersecurity breaches and ransom demands.

In addition to his prison sentence, Ahmed has been sentenced to three years of supervised release and ordered to forfeit $12.4 million, along with a substantial quantity of cryptocurrency. He is also required to pay restitution totaling over $5 million to the affected exchanges. The incident highlights the urgent need for robust security measures and investor protection in the crypto space, with centralized exchanges like Binance taking proactive steps, such as launching insurance funds, to safeguard users against potential threats and losses. As investors navigate the volatile landscape of digital assets, prioritizing platforms committed to comprehensive security protocols becomes increasingly imperative to mitigate risks and safeguard investments.

Digital Assets Desk

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