Hackers have been trying to crack open a cryptocurrency wallet holding a treasure trove of Bitcoin worth around $700mln for more than a year.
According to a report from Vice hackers have been sharing the details of the wallet which currently holds 69,370 BTC which is worth $711mln at press time. The wallet is listed in seventh place on Bitcoininfo’s list of wallets containing the largest amounts of Bitcoin.
The story was originally picked up after Alon Gal, the Chief Technology Officer of cybercrime intelligence company Hudson Rock, posted a Tweet of the Bitcoin address which has been posted on various underground hacking forums for people to try and crack open.
The address, 1HQ3Go3ggs8pFnXuHVHRytPCq5fGG8Hbhx, is viewable on Blockchain.com and its balance is viewable thanks to Bitcoin’s protocol allowing anyone to view a public addresses BTC holdings. The owner of the address however remains a mystery.
Hackers trying to crack it open
It is also reported that various individuals have been trying to sell the address’s wallet.dat file on various online platforms while others have suggested that the actual file might not be legitimate. Nevertheless on websites like Satoshidisk.com, the wallet.dat file is being sold for over $1000 in BTC.
Gal was quoted by Motherboard saying that individuals that specialise in cracking open encrypted files and cryptocurrency wallets would be willing to buy this kind of file.
“Stealing Bitcoin wallets from victims worldwide is a common goal among cybercriminals. Wallets tend to be protected by strong passwords and in the event that a cybercriminal manages to obtain a wallet and cannot crack the password he might sell it to opportunistic hash crackers who are individuals with a large amount of GPU power,” Gal told Motherboard.
This very same file was noticed for sale on a website as far back June 2019.
The address could be doctored
There is also the possibility that individuals are looking to scam unwitting hackers that are looking to gain access to the wallet.dat file.
According to ‘Dave Bitcoin’, who runs the online service Wallet Recovery Services, it is possible for users to change the details of wallet.dat file to make it look like a public address that holds a large amount of BTC.
“The wallet file contains pairs of public key & encrypted private key of the addresses it controls. So one could modify the file in a binary editor and change the public key of one of the address pairs to that of a high value BTC address,” Dave Bitcoin told Vice.
The only way to ascertain this is to crack open the wallet and this would be an incredibly difficult undertaking. A number of encryption experts have estimated it would take an enormous amount of computing power and many years in order to find the password to access the wallet.dat file alone.