The Hacker Behind the Biggest Crypto Heist is Refusing to Return the Remaining Funds

 

The Poly Network attack took place two weeks ago, but the narrative is far from finished. Mr. White Hat, an unknown hacker, was able to extract $614 million in cryptocurrencies, according to the Poly Network team. They are now declining to assist and delaying the Poly Network team after returning a portion of the cash. 

The hack is regarded as the largest crypto theft to date, and the Poly Network team appears to have fewer options other than to ask the hacker to restore the stolen funds peacefully. The attacker/ attackers are interacting with the Poly Network team via the Ethereum blockchain's transaction data field. The unknown hacker is known as "Poly Network Exploiter 1," as per blockchain-tracking service Etherscan. 

“Your essays are very convincing while your actions are showing your distrust, what a funny game. You don’t [sic] even think to unlock my USDT account,” Poly Network Exploiter 1 wrote on the Ethereum blockchain. 

The attacker is referencing a USDT account with $33 million in stablecoins. The funds have been frozen by Tether, which irritates the offender. The hacker's conversation suggests that he has no issues with keeping the stolen money for an undetermined period. 

The Poly Network team replied, "We still hope you can provide the key to us this week because thousands of people are eager to get their assets back." 

In the response, Poly Network Exploiter 1 replied, “I am not ready to publish the key in this week [sic]… Here is one thing that you can always trust me: [sic] Holding BTC and ETH is better than trading them.” 

On August 10, the Poly Network was hacked, and the intruder returned $256 million worth of coins the next day. As a gesture of cooperation, the hacker produced a token labeled 'The hacker is ready to surrender' and sent it to the assigned Polygon address. 

The Poly Network team has given a $500,000 bounty for identifying the exploit to make things easier for the attacker. It is willing to pay 160 ETH ($500,000) to the hacker's address, a gesture that the hacker has turned down. The attacker has also been given the opportunity to become a consultant for the DeFi initiative (decentralized finance). 

Mr. White Hat, as the hacker is called by Poly Network, is a reference to ethical hackers that look for flaws and assist organizations to patch them. It's unclear why the hacker is preventing the final part of assets from being accessed. Poly Network is in charge of roughly $330 million in stolen funds, while Tether, a stablecoin operator, has frozen $33 million pending legal action. Because the blockchain is transparent, putting every transaction data out in the open, hackers find it difficult to get away from their crime or encash it, according to Chainalysis. 

The company mentioned in its report, "With the inherent transparency of blockchains and the eyes of an entire industry on you, how could any cryptocurrency hacker expect to escape with a large cache of stolen funds?" 

"In most cases, the best they could hope for would be to evade capture as the funds sit frozen in a blacklisted private wallet." 

It's hard to determine whether the hacker was attempting an ethical assault or committing a heist. The underlying reason, however, does not appear to be a concern for the Poly Network team at this time. 

As the pressure from thousands of victims grows, recovering the stolen funds is a prime concern. The attack serves as a reminder to governments and authorities that cryptocurrency legislation must be taken seriously. There is currently near to zero accountability, posing a significant danger to the future of DeFi. 

“Regardless of their intentions, we’re of the belief that this sort of publicity stunt hurts the perception of the virtual asset economy in the eyes of the public,” said AnChain.AI founder and CEO Victor Fang. 

DeFi-related thefts are on the upsurge, the first seven months of the year represented 54% of overall crypto fraud volume, compared to 3% for the entire year last year, according to CipherTrace.