An alleged hacker has appeared in a US federal court to answer charges related to the theft of at least $1.4 million in cryptocurrency in December 2017.
Anthony Tyler Nashatka, a resident of New York, is accused of conspiring to steal funds from the EtherDelta cryptocurrency exchange platform.
According to the indictment, Nashatka (also known as “Psycho”) first purchased the personal details of EtherDelta’s CEO Zachary Coburn on an underground website.
Nashatka is then said to have contacted his British accomplice, Elliott Gunton, and concocted a plan to compromise the cryptocurrency exchange’s accounts.
Gunton allegedly used social engineering techniques to fool Coburn’s mobile phone operator to silently forward calls to a Google Voice number under the control of the duo. With that in place, it was possible to bypass the two-factor authentication in place on Coburn’s online accounts, forwarding emails to help waltz past security on other online accounts belonging to EtherDelta’s boss.
Nashatka allegedly used his new powers to meddle with EtherDelta’s DNS settings, sending the site’s users to a fake cloned version of the cryptocurrency exchange’s website and grabbing account credentials and private keys.
With this information it is alleged that Nashatka and Gunton withdrew
funds from hundreds of cryptocurrency accounts.
One unnamed victim is said to have had $800,000 withdrawn from his EtherDelta account and deposited in a cryptocurrency wallet controlled by Gunton and Nashatka.
If Nashatka is found guilty of all charges he could face a maximum of 40 years in prison, and be ordered to pay at least $2.8 million in fines.
And as for Elliott Gunton?
Gunton was given a 20 month sentence and a a $509,000 fine by a UK court in August, after pleading guilty to selling hacking services and stolen personal data for cryptocurrency. He had previously been convicted for his role in the 2016 hack of TalkTalk.
At the end of September 2019, UK police revealed that they had auctioned off more than £240,000 of the cryptocurrency they had confiscated from Gunton.
Gunton’s parents, meanwhile, found themselves in hot water too – after they admitted they had helped their son by moving stolen cryptocurrency from a seized hardware Bitcoin wallet.
As if the Gunton family haven’t had enough bad news, 19-year-old Elliott is now facing charges related to the attacks on EtherDelta’s customers too.