Cyber Security News

Security Engineer Pleads Guilty For Hacking into Cryptocurrency Exchange

In the intricate tapestry of the cyber landscape, Shakeeb Ahmed’s saga transcends the ordinary, featuring a downfall unparalleled in its significance—the inaugural conviction for hacking a smart contract. 

A tale of ambition, greed, and the inexorable hand of justice unfolds in this real-life techno-thriller.

Once a senior security engineer safeguarding the digital realm, Ahmed’s expertise took a malevolent turn in July 2022. 

His target: two decentralized cryptocurrency exchanges, an unnamed platform, and Nirvana Finance. 

The very skills that once protected systems were now wielded for nefarious purposes.

The Two-Fold Attack

According to the advisory, Ahmed carried out his initial attack on the Crypto Exchange with great precision and managed to exploit a vulnerability successfully. As a result of this, he was able to generate a whopping $9 million in illicit fees.

Unsated, he pivoted to Nirvana Finance, deploying a “flash loan” to manipulate smart contracts and drain $3.6 million, sealing Nirvana’s fate.

Despite Ahmed’s attempts to erase his digital fingerprints through token-swapping and cryptocurrency laundering, investigators from Homeland Security and IRS-CI meticulously traced his steps. 

The digital breadcrumbs led to a web of deceit that even his sophisticated maneuvers couldn’t fully conceal.

The Fall of the House of Cards

In a self-incriminating twist, Ahmed’s online searches for “defi hacks prosecution” and “fleeing the U.S.” illuminated his desperate attempts to escape justice. 

In July 2023, his intricate house of cards collapsed, compelling him to confess and forfeit the stolen millions.

Ahmed(34) entered a guilty plea to one count of computer fraud, carrying a maximum penalty of five years’ imprisonment. 

Additionally, he agreed to compensate his victims with a total of $5,071,074.23. 

U.S. Attorney Williams commended the excellent work of Homeland Security Investigations and the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation division, further expressing gratitude to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of California for their contribution to the investigation.

Guru Baran

Gurubaran is a co-founder of Cyber Security News and GBHackers On Security. He has 10+ years of experience as a Security Consultant, Editor, and Analyst in cybersecurity, technology, and communications.

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