Bitfinex hacker turns government witness, explains tactics used in 2016 theft

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In a latest trial in Washington, Ilya Lichtenstein disclosed how he carried out the monumental Bitcoin theft from the crypto change Bitfinex in 2016.

As a cooperating witness for the U.S. authorities in a cash laundering case, Lichtenstein admitted to infiltrating Bitfinex’s safety techniques over an prolonged interval. His prison actions prolonged past Bitfinex, as he compromised accounts on different main cryptocurrency platforms, together with Coinbase and Kraken.

Lichtenstein highlighted his use of Bitcoin Fog, a cryptocurrency mixing service implicated by US prosecutors in facilitating the laundering of considerable sums from darknet marketplaces concerned in unlawful narcotics gross sales. The motive behind Lichtenstein’s resolution to focus on Bitfinex in 2016 was reportedly linked to challenges he confronted together with his know-how startup in San Francisco. 

Bitfinex hackers
Lichtenstein and his spouse | Supply: New York Post

The previous hacker defined to the jury his methodology for capturing buyer passwords on Bitfinex, which he then exploited to realize unauthorized entry to accounts on different exchanges. Though Lichtenstein utilized a number of mixing providers to disguise the origins of the stolen funds, he clarified that these mixers weren’t employed for the majority of the laundering course of. As a substitute, he admitted to depositing funds into numerous cryptocurrency exchanges utilizing identities purchased from the darknet.

Lichtenstein, alongside his spouse, Heather Morgan, beforehand entered a responsible plea for his or her roles in a conspiracy to launder cash derived from the hack.

Throughout the plea hearing final 12 months, the U.S. prosecutors claimed that Lichtenstein and his spouse used pretend IDs to arrange on-line accounts and conceal the digital footprint of their stolen funds by consistently depositing and withdrawing the cash from totally different exchanges and darkish net markets. A few of the stolen funds have been even used to purchase NFTs and gold. 

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