Researchers Regain Access to 11-Year-Old Crypto Wallet, Recover BTC Worth $3M

Two cybersecurity researchers have helped an anonymous crypto user recover 43.6 bitcoins (BTC) he lost 11 years ago after he lost access to the wallet holding the assets.

According to a YouTube video detailing the incident, researcher Joe Grand and his friend Bruno hacked time to reverse engineer the password generator used to create the password for the wallet holding the BTC. Although the process was rigorous, it helped them regain access to the wallet and recover the lost coins.

Regaining Access to 11-year-old Wallet

The anonymous crypto user, dubbed Michael, told Grand and Bruno that he set up the wallet sometime in 2013 and used RoboForm to generate its unique password. However, for security reasons, he decided to store the password in an encrypted file instead of on RoboForm.

“At [that] time, I was really paranoid with my security,” Michael stated, disclosing that the stash was worth around $5,300 at the time. Unfortunately, the encrypted file containing Michael’s password got corrupted at some point, and he lost access to the wallet.

Michael first contacted Grand in 2022, but he turned him down. The bitcoin owner persisted and tried again in June 2023. This time, he got Grand’s attention, and they began the process of retrieving the assets.

Grand and Bruno discovered that RoboForm had a vulnerability in its random number generator, which connected each generated password to a date and time it was created on a user’s computer. Although the bug was fixed in 2015, the duo reasoned that it must have affected every password created before then.

HODLing Till BTC Hits $100K

Michael was tasked with remembering the date he created the password, and while the feat seemed difficult, the researchers learned that he moved the bitcoins into his wallet on April 13, 2013. They used time parameters and continued testing hundreds of passwords until they discovered the correct one, created on May 15, 2013.

Upon discovering the correct password, they accessed the wallet and retrieved the bitcoins. Michael gave a portion of the stash to Grand and Bruno when BTC hovered around $38,000, and when the asset climbed to $62,000, he sold some for himself. He is currently left with 30 BTC worth roughly $2 million, and he intends to hold them till the asset is worth $100,000.

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