Ethical Hackers Help Recover Lost Bitcoin

Hackers Crack Wallet to Find $175,000 Worth of Bitcoin

Rhonda Kampert, a US citizen in Illinois, was an early investor in cryptocurrency. Back in 2013, Kampert bought six BTC at the rate of $80 each after hearing about Bitcoin and cryptocurrency during a radio talk show.

Kampert spent some of her BTC a while later and forgot about the remaining 3.5 Bitcoin. However, Kampert remembered the Bitcoin after the price of the asset shot up to nearly $20,000 in 2017.

According to a report by the BBC, Kampert attempted to log-in to her wallet to access her stash, hoping to cash out her BTC profits. But things turned upside down when she discovered she could not access her wallet ID. After several tries, she gave up.

But when the price of one Bitcoin shot to $50,000 last spring, Kampert’s determination reignited. This time around, in her search for a solution, she came across Chris and Charlie Brooks.

Crypto Asset Recovery

In 2017, Chris Brooks started a venture with his son called Crypto Asset Recovery. The Brooks pair was able to successfully help Kampert open her wallet, which granted her access to the fortune inside. Following the recovery, Kampert’s 3.5 BTC was worth $175,000.

The lucky investor paid 20% to the Brooks duo for their efforts, and then used $10,000 worth of BTC to support her daughter’s college education. Kampert now keeps the remaining BTC in a hardware wallet, hoping for an increase in the asset’s value, which currently hovers around $43,000. She also views the BTC as a retirement fund.

Billions in Bitcoin Likely Lost Forever

In the past year, the Brooks pair noted that the total value of their Bitcoin recovery efforts now amounts to millions of dollars. Their single biggest haul to date was $280,000 worth of BTC. However, their success rate is only 30%.

Another ethical hacker who helps people recover lost Bitcoin is Joe Grand, known as Kingpin within the hacker community. In late January, Joe posted a viral YouTube video showing how he cracked a Trezor hardware wallet with $2 million worth of Theta.

In 2018, Dan Reich and a friend invested $50,000 into Theta token, which was trading at $0.21 at the time of purchase. The tokens were first kept in a Chinese crypto exchange before being moved to a Trezor wallet. However, when Reich later decided to sell the tokens, he discovered that his friend had lost the wallet’s security PIN.

After 12 failed attempts to guess the correct PIN, they decided to stop, as the wallet would automatically delete the data therein after sixteen incorrect attempts. Meanwhile, the price of Theta continued to rise, with the pair’s investment growing to $2 million in 2021, which caused them to intensify efforts to recover their funds. Reich later reached out to Grand, who helped with recovering the tokens.

Many investors are not so lucky.

According to a Chainalysis estimate, about 3.7 million BTC ($160.8 billion) of the 18.5 million BTC currently in circulation have been stranded in wallets.

In January 2021, an IT Engineer petitioned the City of Newport, South Wales, United Kingdom for permission to attempt to recover a hardware drive containing 7,500 BTC (currently worth $326.5 million), by offering 25 percent of his Bitcoin stash.

The City of Newport, however, remains unwilling to grant his request, citing potential costs and environmental concerns.

Safeguard Your Crypto Assets

The lesson from these crypto conundrums is simple: protect cryptocurrency assets by remembering wallet passwords and pin numbers, and avoid throwing away hardware that contains cryptocurrency.

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