Trezor hacked and $2 million recovered

Esteban Suárez

A computer engineer and hardware hacker has revealed how he managed to crack a Trezor One hardware wallet containing more than $2 million in funds.

The video on Youtube where it basically tells how the magic happened after 12 weeks of investigation with a duration of 32 minutes narrates the steps to achieve this achievement in an entertaining way.

Joe Grand, who lives in Portland and is known by his hacker alias “Kingpin,” explains:

I was contacted to hack a Trezor One hardware wallet and recover $2 million worth of crypto (in the form of THETA). Knowing that existing research was already available for this device, it seemed like it would be a piece of cake. Little did I realize that the project would become a roller coaster with more than three months of experimentation, failures, successes and heart-stopping moments. It reminded me that hacking is always unpredictable, exciting, and educational, no matter how long you’ve been doing it. In this case, the stakes were higher than normal: you only had one chance to get it right.

As reported by The Verge, in early 2018, Dan Reich, a New York-based entrepreneur, and his friend spent $50,000 worth of Bitcoin to buy a batch of Theta Network (THETA) tokens, worth about $0. $21 at the time.

The funds were initially held on a China-based cryptocurrency exchange and were later moved to a Trezor One hardware wallet.

In 2018 they realized that they had lost the security PIN of the Trezor One in which the tokens were stored and after trying 12 times to enter the PIN they decided to give up since at attempt number 16 the PIN and the mnemonic phrase they would be erased forever.

However, after Theta’s price spiked last year to an all-time high above $15 and their initial investment briefly exceeded $3 million, Reich and his friend decided to renew their attempts to access to the wallet.

Going through different routes, the two friends contacted Joe Grand, who finally managed to recover the PIN in a very ingenious way. trezor replies

It should be noted that SatoshiLabs, the Prague-based manufacturer of Trezor wallets, fixed the security issue found on Reich’s device some time ago, and all new devices ship with a fixed bootloader.

“We just want to add that this is an outdated exploit that is of no concern to current users and that we fixed in 2017 right after a report we received through our responsible disclosure program,” Trezor tweeted on Wednesday.

If you want to know more about this impressive story you can watch the video where the whole process is detailed.