Hacker burns nearly 1,000 bitcoins held by Russian intelligence

Hackers are among the most active in the crypto market. Regularly, this industry witnesses their base acts, such as bitcoin thefts and DeFi protocol hacks. Sometimes it is their acts of prowess, even of nobility that are brought to light.

986 bitcoins from Russian intelligence, burned for a good cause?

Some hackers are simply surprising! Recently, one of them made it big by returning stolen assets to an Arbitrum-based crypto platform. This time, another hacker allegedly burned 986 bitcoins (BTC) belonging to the Russian intelligence services.

According to Chainalysis investigations who revealed the information, the operation dates from last year. Between March 2022 and April 2022, the hacker would have intercepted these assets on 986 unique bitcoin addresses.

These addresses would be used by the GRU, the SVR and the FSB, initials symbolizing three Russian military intelligence agencies. Although the latter encrypted the information linked to these addresses, the hacker managed to decrypt it.

This, via the OP_RETURN function. It is a script from the Bitcoin blockchain. It allows the insertion of non-transactional data into a bitcoin operation. A particularly useful feature for tracing the provenance of digital assets.

A vigilante hacker?

One might have expected the hacker to take possession of his find. 986 bitcoins is still around 300,000 dollars! But particularly unexpected, the hacker preferred to burn them.

Not only by destroying the private keys allowing access to these wallets. Even less by simply transferring part of the assets to an unusable address. But also by offering part of the funds, to an address used to collect donations for Ukraine. This, with the message: “Help Ukraine with money from GRU Khakir”.

A vigilante hacker? Quite an intriguing story. If the latter can legitimately raise doubts, Chainalysis seems to give it credit. For the blockchain analysis firm, the fact that the hacker has, among other things, offered part of the assets demonstrates his convictions. This action would highlight the nobility of his intentions and his “support for the Ukrainian cause”.

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