A reward of $500,000 and immunity was offered to a hacker who stole more than $600m worth of cryptocurrency for returning the money.
The controversial offer, made after the hacker pledged to send back the money, was made by Poly Network. The huge heist was brought to public knowledge earlier this week on Tuesday after Poly Network pleaded publicly with the hacker to help.
“Private companies have no authority to promise immunity from criminal prosecution”, said one former FBI official.
This cyber attack is one of the biggest in cyber thefts ever. A vulnerability in its system had been exploited by the hacker, Poly Network said
The hackers has not returned most of the money. The hacker reportedly says that they are not interested in accepting the reward.
Notes taunting the company were posted on the publicly available blockchain by the anonymous individual shortly after the hack and asked other users about how he could launder the stolen wealth.
The hacker later claimed they were “not to be interested in money” while also promising to return all of the stone money.
Most of the remaining assets in the possession of the hacker were transferred by Thursday evening into a digital wallet that is jointly controlled by both the hacker and the company, Poly Network said.
While informing that it is still waiting for the complete of the repayment process, Poly Network says it is also working with the hacker to ensure the completion of the transaction. Shortly after the attack, a portion of the stolen coins were frozen which are yet to be transferred by the hacker. But since the amount of frozen, therefore the amount cannot be used by the hacker in any manner,
“The hacker still holds $33.4m of stolen Tether [tokens] – because it has been frozen by Tether themselves,” Tom Robinson, co-founder of Elliptic, a London-based blockchain analytics and compliance firm, said.
It was possible to see on the blockchain that “a few thousand dollars’ worth of various other tokens” were still being held onto by the hacker, he added.
There was however no confirmation about whether this amount as among the stolen assets, or were donations that the hacker had requested people to send on Thursday as a thank you for returning the money.
Other money outstanding also includes a 13.37 Ether tip ($40,000), which the hacker sent to a user who warned them that the Tether tokens had been frozen by its developer.
The crypto currency heist was carried out by him or her for fun and to prod the crypto currency exchange firm Poly Networks to strengthen its security, the anonymous hacker claimed in a three page Q&A posted online.
The explanation has apparently been accepted by Poly Network, as it has christened the hacker “Mr White Hat”.
White hat hackers are ethical security researchers who use their skills for good to help organisations find security flaws.
(Adapted from BBC.com)