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Hackers help man retrieve over $2 million worth Bitcoin almost a decade after losing the password | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #hacker

The concept of investing in bitcoins over the years has become a craze. Millions purchased the same as the new trend for better financial acquisitions. A man named Michael locked away his Bitcoin with a password-protected digital wallet, per Wired. However, after having safely stored over $3 million in Bitcoin in 2013, the man was unable to retrieve the same after losing the password, reports Forbes. When the tragedy struck Michael, he had no clue how to get back the millions at stake. The man contacted Joe Grand, a researcher, hardware expert and hacker to help with the same. However, Grand turned him down.

Representative Image Source: Pexels| Alesia Kozik

Michael had stored the password in an encrypted form but unfortunately, the file got corrupted. The man lost his password and was on the verge of losing the ginormous amount. When he contacted Grand, he knew he was the right man for the job as he had helped retrieve another man’s password stored in a hardware wallet. Known as “Kingpin,” for his genius hacking skills, Grand would have to work with a software wallet had he agreed to help Michael. Michael was persistent and approached Grand again. This time, along with another colleague, Grand agreed to help the man.

Representative Image Source: Pexels| Negative Space
Representative Image Source: Pexels| Negative Space

The basic plan would be to hack into the system and retrieve the password from the backup. However, the problem was that there was no alternate space where the password was stored since Michael feared it getting hacked. “At [that] time, I was really paranoid with my security,” he said. What followed were months of hacking, understanding and brainstorming to find a flaw in the system and get a way in. Finally, the team found an error that was their route to victory. Grand shared references to notes about his work in an X post

The discovery revealed that the password isn’t random and follows a pattern. Any information about the date and time the password was generated would help get an idea of the same. To everyone’s misfortune, Michael had no recollection of any of the details. Though everyone tried their luck with different dates and data, it was all in vain. “They annoyed me because who knows what I did 10 years ago,” Michael recalled. They had hard work and luck on their side and several attempts later, they cracked the code. “We ultimately got lucky that our parameters and time range were right,” Grand said. He also shared updates together with @KimZetter in a thread about the project. In one of the threads, Grand explained more about the flaw. 



The Kingpin shared details of how he managed the feat in a video on his YouTube channel. Finally, the team got a taste of victory and they gave back to Michael what he thought he lost forever. Grand deducted a percentage for his work and handed over the password to Michael. The genius work got the man wealth worth millions. Looking back, Michael is glad he got time to store the bitcoin that cost around $5000 at the time. He shared that he would have sold it long ago when its value increased to a few tens of thousands but the insecure and frightening wait earned him much. “That I lost the password was financially a good thing,” he exclaimed.





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