Not an APT Average: Grand Theft Bitcoin
The Story begins…
So there’s some background information. I was seeking for a company that recovers data from broken hard drives and cold crypto storage devices such as Ledger/Trezor, and I had made a few posts on well-known clear-net and deep-web forums when I came across an interesting guy with whom I had a conversation.
As is customary, our acquaintance began with a reaction to my unusual nickname (I remind you that this is a joke and a simulacrum; I do not work or have ever worked for any government, nor have I ever worked for comparable entities) and a general curiosity in the Bitcoin business. He offered me some links to some decent manuals that he used and I’ll include them as a bonus at the end of the interview.
❗️ For educational purposes only, the Author won’t be responsible for any damage done. The J’s spelling and punctuation are left unchanged.
⁃ CIA: Hello! Nice to e-meet you!
⁃ J: Hey, likewise
⁃ CIA: Let’s start with the first question: would you mind posting our conversation in my article, beginning from now?
⁃ J: No, I’m not bothered.
⁃ CIA: Great, let’s start our interview then, I’d like you to introduce yourself first.
⁃ J: My name is J, and I cannot reveal my gender or age. I first became aware of cryptocurrencies in 2012, when DeepWeb, often known as “DarkNet,” saw widespread popularity. I’m not going to lie, I was interested in buying drugs, carding, hacking, and other illicit schemes, in other words, making quick money.
I’ll make a digression and state that I grew up in a criminal milieu, despite the fact that I was a “nice kid” and my parents had a consistent income. But, I’ve always wanted more. Maybe it’s a psychological issue.
One essential fact is that I, as a self-respecting gamer, am well-versed in the subject of doxxing, as is OSINT with Social Engineering. I can’t claim to have achieved the pinnacles of it (yes, there are amazing people like you who I enjoy reading), but it has surely aided me with the topic at hand. It permanently altered my life.
⁃ CIA: Could you tell us more about that please?
⁃ J: Of course, it all started with my friend, with whom we were looking for new schemes of online earnings in 2015, accidentally told me that in 2009 and 2010, studying at the university, in graduate school, was engaged in what he researched blockchain, cryptocurrencies and Bitcoin in particular. I was immediately interested and asked him a few questions. And then I went on the Internet to check out these facts.
⁃ CIA: So there is a possibility that this was a mass phenomenon?
⁃ J: You get the picture. That’s right, I’ll tell you that among the topics that graduate students, PhDs, and MSc students were offered as topics for research papers in mathematics, information, and technology universities, there were many topics about blockchain, fin-tech, cryptocurrencies, and so on, and to do this work, you had to buy some BTC, which cost a small amount of money back then (in 2008–2010)!
⁃ CIA: And what was your idea?
⁃ J: Don’t rush things:P So, all of this work was done on university-owned hard drives and PCs that, as it turned out, are still hanging about in storerooms. We were able to discover some really eager folks to implement this idea thanks to my friend. Some were his family, which is something you should never ever do, but it doesn’t matter now.
I thought about how to put the notion into action for a long time before coming up with a plan. We started a little finishing firm; I won’t reveal what it’s called; all I’ll say is that the name was chosen to be as close to the genuine company as feasible. After that, we started working on a list of the most “tasty” universities and educational institutions.
It was challenging; we had to get in touch with a lot of people, offer free trash removal from the territory, and then ask about the disposal of outmoded computer equipment, of course, only after developing a trusted relationship (using social engineering). The first several efforts were unsuccessful, and the even cops were summoned once! Hopefully we had the necessary agreement and one of the staff members verbally confirmed it, therefore it didn’t work out. Fortunately, the cops were unwilling to investigate.
⁃ CIA: Please continue Sir!
⁃ J: I’m sorry, but I have to be distracted by my family at times when we’re talking. So, after several failed tries, we finally found what we were looking for all that time. We had already spent a significant percentage of our budget (no more than $10,000) at the time, which had a negative impact on our motivation, but we decided to continue. At a technical college N, we were able to obtain a few dozen hard drives in decent condition.
So, on an Autumn evening, when checking one wallet, we noticed the long-awaited numbers on the screen — 500 BTC, for a second, that was 2015, Bitcoin was already worth quite a little to be concerned about. It’s difficult to put into words how pleased we were. We divided our shares equally and went dark for a few weeks.
The question then became, “What should we do?” It was agreed to continue working, and over the next few years, until 2019, we were able to mine roughly 1000 more BTC, fully clean. Of course, the amount invested on equipment and training was considerably more, but it paid off completely.
⁃ CIA: Wow! And you’re still doing that?
⁃ J: No, I don’t require it any longer; I have a genuine business, property, and a wonderful family. This is despite the fact that this strategy can be performed in multiple languages in various countries. Furthermore, in today’s environment, you can easily find a job; you don’t have to work so hard to go out there. Don’t be a slacker; all talents can now be obtained through self-study.
⁃ CIA: Excellent advice! Is there anything you’d like to share with our viewers about your incredible story? I’d appreciate some advice from you. Let’s tackle five blitz questions and keep your responses brief.
⁃ J: Sure, that’s something I’m interested in. Feel free to ask anything.
⁃ CIA: The first question is: what advice do you give for those who are currently reading this?
⁃ J: My advise is to devote more time to self-education. Again, we didn’t have such easy access to information back in the day, so enjoy it while you can!
⁃ CIA: Thank you for responding! So, when you have 1000 BTC, what is the most difficult part?
⁃ CIA: The next question is, what will you say to God if you find yourself in his presence?
⁃ J: Hello:P
⁃ CIA: That brings us to the fourth question. Should I invest in Bitcoin?
⁃ J: Depending on your beliefs, it appears to me to be another opportunity to diversify your investments. I’ve always been a terrible investor, so I can’t provide a good advise…
⁃ CIA: The next question is, what are your plans for the future?
⁃ J: I’m not sure yet; perhaps I’ll just live my life. I hope someone reads this, finds a hard drive, and donates you some money for your efforts:P
⁃ CIA: Thank you so much for the interview; it was wonderful speaking with you! If you don’t mind doing another interview with me later, that would be great. I believe you have much to say to the World.
⁃ J: Of course, I would be honored to speak with you; you know how to reach out to me. Good luck to you as well; keep on making us happy with your OpSec researches!
- Bonus info from the Special Guest! (If the link not opening for you, then just replace telegra.ph to graph.org or use VPN)
After the debate, I’d want to express my personal feelings… First and foremost, you should not accept what J said as 100% accurate, and you should not believe J when he says he is no longer doing it. The evidence I uncovered contradicts this.
They are not actively doing crimes, but they are taking advantage of the university administration’s ignorance. Yes, the money would have been very helpful if the abstract University had received it, and it is a profit withholding.
It’s also crucial to notice how our hero and his pals used “combat” methods like OSINT (when searching for information on educational institution documents) and Social Engineering (when J and his gang communicated with the employees of educational institutions). This is absolutely something worth thinking about.
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