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The first time I hacked a pc, it was a huge feeling of power. I felt that I had the life of that person in my hands and it is not for less, having control of all their photos, personal files, and passwords of various accounts. This was quite a long time ago when I was in college. I installed a keylogger in the laboratory PCs, obtaining the passwords of the users, as well as the days, went by. This allowed me access to their personal computers when they were connected to the network. I can't describe the feeling of power, I just don't have the words to do it. The information that I discovered in each of the computers, he never used to advantage for absolutely nothing. Already when I got tired, I left a message on the desktop “You have been hacked. Change your passwords ”. The users are so basic and so simple that they think that with keys of "123456" or the keys "qwerty" and "admin123" will solve something. Even if you knew how many keys are combinations of the username itself, you would be surprised.
The desire to learn more led me to study operating systems, until exhaustion, from the inside. Mathematics has always been very close to me, from a very young age. I started studying and looking for information on the internet and practicing with various programs until I had my own resources. The moment came when nothing was difficult for me. Towards a lot of work for social engineering. I liked to play with people's minds. I impersonated the websites and obtained their passwords. I sent emails with links to a site where I then had access to his computers, to his webcams, to his life. The emails become so real that it seems the company itself is writing you, and if you don't have good eyesight or common sense, you fall very easily into the trap.
I finished university and interned in my personal projects. I did some jobs but nothing to write home about, the money was not enough to pay the rent. Bitcoin arrived in 2009 and I was interested in the project, so I was studying everything related to it in detail, but I did not buy any. Even when the SmokeTooMuch user auctioned 10,000 BTC for about $ 50 USD, I didn't buy it because I didn't have that capital! It was then that something twisted inside of me and I thought: "I can use my skills to get a little money, just once." What I did not know is that this practice would become an addiction, that I could not stop. I did indeed make my first BTC purchases in 2012 when the price was still very low. I'd get you in if I didn't feel like hacking it back then, but I didn't have the resources to try it yet. So I gave up the idea for now.
I made several friends on the deep web, by then I was completely lost. I was a 27-year-old man in the basement of his house, with a computer connected to the internet, a dim light, and 20 hours a day in front of a monitor. The other 4 hours sleeping in front of the keyboard or eating junk food on top of it.
At that time I was dedicated to creating Trojan viruses, where some were capable of when a user was going to make a transaction through Metamask, when copying the destination address, he would put my address instead of his. Users by not double-checking the address to which they were going to send their crypto, sent the funds to me. I was acquiring a lot of capital in those days. Forgetting the double-check when shipping had been a blessing for me, and a bane for many.
I received in 2018 a proposal to hack the keys of a wallet that had about 69 000 BTC, for a value at that time of $ 695 million USD. Alon Gal even posted it on Twitter and asked Google for help for a quantum computer. Find the words of a wallet is a task for history. If you keep those words off the whole web, there is literally no possible way. It is easier to hack an exchange than this. That is why it is always recommended that you do not keep a large amount of cryptos on exchanges, they must be kept in your personal wallet. Later the wallet was cleaned to zero, without having a physical trace of who deciphered it. I guess it was a crack.
Even hardware wallets could make them vulnerable. How? Simple, using social engineering. It used the hacked Ledger wallet data of its users and the address of the mimes. I would send him an original report but with a small modification, and a letter signed by the president of the company himself, assuming that they would change to this report because the data had been compromised. A truth cloaked in a white lie. When putting the memory it asked for the keywords, and the user naively agreed to put them, a practice that should NEVER be done. I already had a little extra money.
But I wanted to do something that would distinguish me, something unique, that would attract attention. So I wanted to get into the blockchain once and for all. Due to its decentralized form, it was very difficult to perform such an attack. What if I had 51% of the network? Then I might be able to create my own fork of the blockchain. I would mine faster than the other miners, and in the end, when I release my own blockchain it would be accepted by the other 49% of the network because mine is the majority. So it could work magic, if I have BTC on the real blockchain, I can buy assets, and spend them, but on my majority-created blockchain, they wouldn't be spent. When I released my blockchain, I would then have my BTC back, pure magic. There was only one problem, getting 51% of the BTC mining, which is highly expensive in every way. To beat this Proof of Work (PoW) of all BTC miners I was not ready.
To test my theory I started to attack some altcoins, where their mining power was very low and I could easily gain majority control of 51%. It was then that I met Geocold on the Deep Web and told him about my proposal. We started digging deeper and did our first antics towards Monacoin, ZenCash, Bitcoin Gold, and Ethereum Classic. Our strategy worked perfectly. Even when we were attacking Bitcoin Private (BTCP), we were censored from two platforms for live streaming.
First of all, we wanted to attack the altcoin Einsteinium (EMC2), but by announcing it previously the community grew more and increased the hash rate to a level that we could afford at the time. So we went for the BTCP. At that time with a few hundred USD rented in hash power, we were able to gain control of the network and its hash rate, getting up to 70% of it. However, we did not double-spend, although we could have done so very easily after we had gained control.
Against BTC we had to come up with a more robust idea. A few hundred USD could do absolutely nothing on such a powerful network. These are some of the data that make this network almost impossible for us to apply this theory because the Hashrate of BTC is higher than 145,472,737,165 TH/s. Assuming the lowest cost of electricity in the world of about $ 0.01 per kWh, the hardware purchased to achieve that Hashrate would be nearly 1,400,000 circuits. This would lead to spending about $ 13.5 billion USD on hardware. The cost of electricity alone would be in approximately 24 hours more than $ 1 million USD, which would almost be the complete energy of a country at that time. After this, you would even have to have more BTC to double spend.
The BTC network is the most secure currently for this reason. Every day many more nodes are incorporated, increasing the network to an unthinkable level. It is a network that has been working for about 12 years and has only fallen about 2 times, with more than 99.986798% effectiveness. It has only fallen twice in 2010 and 2013, adding a total of 14 hours and 47 minutes of interruption. The first was due to an overflow, and the second due to an error block between one of the miners. It cannot be said that it is 100% perfect, but in a few more years, in 2025 it will reach that level if it continues without interruptions. You should ask big monopolies like Google, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and WhatsApp when was the last time their servers went down and left their millions of users offline for hours.
We could even get 51% of the BTC network to annoy and prevent a specific transaction from being carried out. Since we have majority control we could even prevent the creation of new blocks, preventing the other miners from creating them. But the cost is so high that it is not worth doing. I could not create coins, nor send other currencies than mine. So why would I want to do this when I can attack other cryptocurrencies for a lot less money? Example, just a few months ago I could get control of these with this little amount of money:
- LTC: $ 12 620
- BCH: $ 10 400
- ZEC: $ 10 270
- BSV: $ 8 460
- ETC: $ 4 770
- DASH: $ 2,640
It would do much more than try to circumvent the security of BTC for an abysmal amount of money, knowing that the obtained would not be entirely comforting or profitable. Nor would it end the faith in BTC that investors around the world have today. Maybe someday when quantum computers are around the corner, it will be a little less complex and not so difficult and far-fetched to think that someone can get hold of the BTC blockchain. The time will come before the last BTC is mined in 2140, that computers are their own danger to the entire crypto world. By that date we will obviously no longer be here, so we can only guess. If Google comes out with a quantum computer, we will see what it is capable of if we mix it with BTC. Although I imagine it will be much more expensive than normal, if it is for sale. If this comes to mean imminent destruction for this crypto world, perhaps we would see the first war between decentralization and monopolies. Even reaching levels that we have not seen yet. They are just assumptions.
The other variant would be to generate a Trojan so powerful that it is capable of entering the mining servers of large farms, circumventing all security. Get all that computing power and acquire even more than 51% of the mining.
Create an alternate reality and modify it. This would take time and a lot of programming. In addition to creating a team that is willing to do anything. Maybe join forces and have millions of computers around the world that are mining do it for me. It would be relatively easy to gain control of them, and have them as zoombies to carry out these attacks at my command. Today it is easier. People download anything from the internet and they do not have antivirus on their computers, or they are out of date. Safety is not their thing. In addition, we are talking about the internet, where there are hundreds of billions of users connected. A whole universe at my feet.
With such a hard hit, I still don't know how I would double-spend my 69 000 BTC currently stored in my wallet. What would you do?
- I have no idea friend. I think I would buy me a pizza, Ahah. Thank you very much for this wonderful interview. And you, dear listener, we remain here, on your radio show "In the Mind of a Hacker". We continue with the next story this week dedicated to the crypto universe. Go ahead Geocold, we are with you ...
This story is completely fictitious, mixed with real elements about events that have been news in the world of cryptocurrencies. I do not condone or practice any type of criminal acts or hacking of any kind. I hope the article is useful to avoid falling into hacking issues in the future.
Clarification of the future due to user feedback: What is fictional is that I am a hacker or that I invented the attack on 51% of the network. But everything else, including hacking in college, or 51% attacks, are practices that occur in real life. You can look up information about them. All the events narrated in the article are completely real that occurred and do occur in the world of cryptocurrencies.