Some trade encrypted bitcoin wallets on forums and underground marketplaces, while others hope to decrypt the wallet and return the cryptocurrency reserves.
For at least a year, hackers have been trying to break into a bitcoin wallet that could potentially hold around $690 million, or 69,370 BTC. According to the wallet-tracking site, this would be the wallet with the seventh largest amount of bitcoins in circulation, so if someone could hack it, it would be a real coup, according to Vice.
Since the launch of Bitcoin in January 2009, people have lost passwords to their wallets or thrown away hard drives that held bitcoins, shielding themselves from their hard-earned digital money. With the rise in the value of Bitcoin, people have been desperate to unlock these wallets, up until the recent involvement of a Google security engineer in an epic attempt to unlock the $ 300,000 worth of digital currency. There is now even a marketplace called All Private Keys where people can buy, download and try to hack bitcoin wallets that have been forgotten their password.
No exchange or crypto wallet is 100% secure. For example, in 2016, hackers hacked Bitfinex, the most popular exchange at that time, and stole about 120,000 bitcoins from the accounts of its clients, which is equal to $1.5 billion at the current exchange rate. Vulnerability allowed funds to be transferred…
On Monday, Alon Gal, CTO of cybercrime intelligence firm Hudson Rock, noted that a $690 million bitcoin wallet, whose address is 1HQ3Go3ggs8pFnXuHVHRytPCq5fGG8Hbhx, recently surfaced on the popular hacker forum RaidForums.
Stealing bitcoin wallets from victims around the world is a favorite pastime for cybercriminals. Wallets are usually protected by strong passwords, but in case a cybercriminal manages to get hold of the wallet and cannot crack the password, they can sell it to crackers with more GPU power.
In fact, the hackers have exchanged the wallet several times. On June 29 last year, someone nicknamed humerh3 tried to sell a wallet on Bitcointalk, one of the most popular cryptocurrency forums. Another forum member noted that earlier this year, a $690 million wallet was posted on the All Private Keys page. This announcement is not currently available, but it is on another site.
However, there is no guarantee that the wallet.dat file actually contains the lost bitcoins. It is possible that someone spoofed the wallet so that it had the address 1HQ3Go3ggs8pFnXuHVHRytPCq5fGG8Hbhx, but not the corresponding private key that cryptocurrency experts believe is needed to receive bitcoins.
It is possible to process the Bitcoin wallet.dat file to make it look like it contains a lot of money on the balance sheet, said Dave Bitcoin, a person who runs Wallet Recovery Services, a service that decrypts wallets with lost passwords for a fee.
“The wallet file contains the public key and encrypted private key of the addresses it controls. Thus, in a binary editor, you can change the public key of the address to the key of a BTC address with a high balance."
In practice, this means that it is impossible to know if this wallet really contains coins until you hack and decrypt it. The wallet could have been tampered with or modified to make people pay for what it was supposed to be.
And deciphering it may be impossible.
This is because the wallet is probably protected by a long and unique password, and the wallet.dat file is encrypted using two algorithms, AES-256-CBC and SHA-512, which are very slow to process, making brute-force methods very difficult.
Another company that sells wallet recovery services blogged that a wallet file like this one, which has a password longer than 15 characters using upper/lower case, numbers, special and foreign characters, would be impossible to crack with brute force even for a time limit life long.