MIT students stole $25M in seconds by exploiting ETH blockchain bug, DOJ says

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Within approximately 12 seconds, two highly educated brothers allegedly stole $25 million by tampering with the ethereum blockchain in a never-before-seen cryptocurrency scheme, according to an indictment that the US Department of Justice unsealed Wednesday.

In a DOJ press release, US Attorney Damian Williams said the scheme was so sophisticated that it “calls the very integrity of the blockchain into question.”

“The brothers, who studied computer science and math at one of the most prestigious universities in the world, allegedly used their specialized skills and education to tamper with and manipulate the protocols relied upon by millions of ethereum users across the globe,” Williams said. “And once they put their plan into action, their heist only took 12 seconds to complete.”

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Anton, 24, and James Peraire-Bueno, 28, were arrested Tuesday, charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, and conspiracy to commit money laundering. Each brother faces “a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison for each count,” the DOJ said.

The alleged scheme was launched in December 2022 by the brothers, who studied at MIT, after months of planning, the indictment said. The pair seemingly relied on their “specialized skills” and expertise in crypto trading to fraudulently gain access to “pending private transactions” on the blockchain, then “used that access to alter certain transactions and obtain their victims’ cryptocurrency,” the DOJ said.

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arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2024/05/sophisticated-25m-ethereum-heist-took-about-12-seconds-doj-says/

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