An anonymous Bitcoin user has allegedly hacked almost 1,000 bitcoin (BTC) addresses that belong to Russian security services. According to a now-deleted report by on-chain data analysis firm, Chainalysis, the user stole coins from these wallets and transferred them to addresses belonging to Ukrainian volunteers who are fighting in the war.
Security Services’ Wallets Hacked
The hacker reportedly used a feature on the Bitcoin network called OP_RETURN to invalidate transactions and burn BTC worth around $300,000. Initially, the hacker had intended to burn the coins stolen from Russian security services, but after Russia invaded Ukraine, the user changed tactics and began channelling funds to pro-Ukrainian groups involved in the war.
It is also alleged that the hacker sent messages in Russian to coin owners, accusing them of using the same addresses to pay hackers. Security specialists believe that Russian intelligence services regularly use hackers to carry out various missions, although these rumours have not been confirmed.
Chainalysis pointed out that at least three of the wallets already had established connections to Russia. One reportedly paid for servers used in Russia’s disinformation campaign during the 2016 US presidential elections, while the other two have been linked to the SolarWinds attack.
The data analysis firm suggested that the attacker might have been an insider and didn’t necessarily gain control of the wallets by hacking them. The person who took over the coins may have been a former or current employee of the Russian intelligence services.
Moreover, the fact that the hacker obtained private keys belonging to Russian-controlled addresses raises concerns about the security of the country’s crypto operations. The hacker’s actions not only prevented Russia’s intelligence services from accessing those coins but also made it more challenging for them to reuse the same addresses in future operations.
While it is still unclear who the anonymous hacker is, his actions have shed light on the potential weaknesses in the security of cryptocurrency systems. It remains to be seen whether these events will prompt Russian intelligence services to tighten their security measures and increase their vigilance against such attacks.