Software engineer sentenced to three years in prison for Nirvana hack

In the Southern New York District Court, Computer security engineer Shakeeb Ahmed received a sentence of three years in prison, with an additional three years of supervised release. This punishment was imposed after Ahmed was found guilty of carrying out flash loan attacks on Decentralized Crypto Exchanges and Nirvana exchanges during the year 2022. (Or: Shakeeb Ahmed, a computer security engineer, was sentenced to three years in prison and three years of supervised release by the Southern New York District Court following his conviction for flash loan attacks on Decentralized Crypto Exchanges and Nirvana exchanges in 2022.)

Damian Williams, the U.S. Attorney, announced in a statement that Ahmed became the first person to be convicted for hacking a smart contract in the United States. As part of his sentence, Ahmed was required to surrender $12.3 million and a substantial amount of cryptocurrency. Furthermore, he is obligated to pay back $5 million to the affected exchanges.

Ahmed proposed giving back the stolen Crypto Exchange funds in full, retaining only $1.5 million. However, if the exchange declined to involve law enforcement, his offer stood. Nirvana suggested paying Ahmed $600,000 for returning the funds. Yet, Ahmed insisted on receiving $1.4 million instead, derived from the $3.6 million he had taken, and no deal was struck.

The value of Nirvana’s stablecoin NIRV, which is pegged to the U.S. dollar through the NIRV project, became unlinked from the greenback. Concurrently, ANA, Nirvana’s native coin, plummeted by 85% following reports of a hack. As per the announcement from the Southern District of New York (SDNY), Ahmed is suspected of using the illegally obtained funds from the hack for money laundering purposes.

“Using token-swap transactions; ‘bridging’ fraud proceeds from the Solana blockchain over to the Ethereum blockchain; exchanging fraud proceeds into Monero […]; using overseas cryptocurrency exchanges; and using cryptocurrency mixers, such as Samourai Whirlpool.”

Observers have noted that in addition to the two previous exchanges, Crema was targeted in a cyberattack in July 2022 utilizing similar tactics. However, the federal accusations do not implicate him in that breach.

At the point when Ahmed executed the assaults, as stated, he worked as a top-tier security engineer for an international technology firm. However, based on Bloomberg’s report, Ahmed held the role of a leading technical expert in Amazon’s bug bounty program.

Based on Inner City Press reports, Ahmed, who was granted bail, currently works for a mental health care company. During his trial, he was quoted as sharing, “I observed hacks, discovered a method to manipulate an exchange’s smart contracts. I sought therapy” instead.

Software engineer sentenced to three years in prison for Nirvana hack

In July, Ahmed was taken into custody in New York and accused of committing wire fraud and money laundering crimes related to hacking. Later in December, he admitted guilt to one count of computer fraud instead.

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2024-04-12 21:23