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SBF Trial May Serve as Convenient Distraction for FTX Hacker, Warns CertiK

SBF Trial May Serve as Convenient Distraction for FTX Hacker, Warns CertiK

CertiK highlights how the so-called "FTX-Drainer" could use the SBF trial to confuse tracking efforts.

The person believed to be behind the theft of more than $400 million from FTX might be using the public's focus on SBF's ongoing fraud trial to continue obscuring their illicit activities, said Hugh Brooks, the Director of Security Operations at CertiK.

The notorious FTX hacker, referred to as "FTX Drainer," has reportedly started transferring large sums of Ethereum just days prior to the initiation of Sam Bankman-Fried's legal proceedings.

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Notably, the Ethereum transactions have sustained throughout the duration of the trial. In just the past 72 hours, about 15,000 ETH, worth approximately $24 million, were shifted to three separate wallet addresses.

FTX, once assessed at a $32 billion valuation, filed for bankruptcy on November 11. On that very day, substantial outflows of assets were detected by FTX employees from the company’s digital wallets.

An investigative report dated October 9 provided additional context into the events that unfolded during the night of the heist. Upon discovering that the hacker had unmitigated access to multiple wallets, FTX staff took swift action.

They reportedly moved an enormous sum — between $400 million and $500 million — into a privately held Ledger cold wallet.

This was done while waiting for a response from BitGo, the firm that managed the assets after the bankruptcy filing. This quick thinking likely thwarted the thief from acquiring up to $1 billion.

Additionally, Brooks indicated a noticeable change in the hacker's approach. Initially, the "FTX Drainer" was seen employing a "peel chain" tactic to launder the stolen funds, a method of transferring decreasing sums to new wallets.

However, recently, the hacker has opted for a more intricate technique. The stolen assets are now being divided and transferred among multiple wallets, significantly delaying the tracing process. As of today, H. Brooks has observed that:

The individual accountable for draining the funds might be feeling an increased urgency to conceal the assets.

Brooks stated that CertiK is still in the process of identifying individuals or organizations who could potentially be linked to FTX's breach. Investigations are ongoing.

As the focus remains largely on Sam Bankman-Fried’s high-profile trial, the individual responsible for the FTX hack seems to be capitalizing on the diverted attention. With ever-changing strategies to obscure their tracks and substantial movements of Ethereum, the hacker is making it increasingly challenging for investigators to close in on them. As it stands, the spotlight on the SBF trial could indeed be serving as an effective smoke screen for these illicit activities.

Aaron S., Editor-In-Chief
Having completed a Master’s degree in Economics, Politics, and Cultures of the East Asia region, Aaron has written scientific papers analyzing the differences between Western and Collective forms of capitalism in the post-World War II era.
With close to a decade of experience in the FinTech industry, Aaron understands all of the biggest issues and struggles that crypto enthusiasts face. He’s a passionate analyst who is concerned with data-driven and fact-based content, as well as that which speaks to both Web3 natives and industry newcomers.
Aaron is the go-to person for everything and anything related to digital currencies. With a huge passion for blockchain & Web3 education, Aaron strives to transform the space as we know it, and make it more approachable to complete beginners.
Aaron has been quoted by multiple established outlets, and is a published author himself. Even during his free time, he enjoys researching the market trends, and looking for the next supernova.

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