Authorities in the United States have charged a cybersecurity engineer with stealing $9,000,000 from a decentralized cryptocurrency exchange

Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, recently announced the indictment of a former cybersecurity specialist accused of hacking an international decentralized crypto exchange (DEX) and stealing $9 million in crypto assets.

Shakeeb Ahmed, according to the indictment, carried out the assault in July 2022 by exploiting vulnerability in the Solana (SOL)-based DEX.

At the time of the assault, the 34-year-old was a senior security engineer at an international technology business. He reportedly entered false pricing data into the platform’s smart contract, causing it to produce $9 million in inflated fees.

The fees were then withdrawn in bitcoin and laundered in order to disguise the source and owner of the monies. In addition, the accused attempted to avoid prosecution.

“After he stole the fees he never legitimately earned, AHMED had communications with the Crypto Exchange in which he decided to return all of the stolen funds except for $1.5 million if the Crypto Exchange agreed not to refer the attack to law enforcement.  After the attack, AHMED searched online for information about the attack, his own criminal liability, criminal defense attorneys with expertise in similar cases, law enforcement’s ability to successfully investigate the attack, and fleeing the United States to avoid criminal charges.”

Ahmed was detained in New York on Tuesday and now faces accusations of wire fraud and money laundering, each of which carry a potential penalty of 20 years in prison.

According to Williams, the charges are the first ever brought in connection with an attack on a smart contract run by a decentralized bitcoin exchange.

“As alleged in the indictment, Shakeeb Ahmed, who was a senior security engineer at an international technology company, used his expertise to defraud the exchange and its users and steal approximately $9 million in cryptocurrency.”

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