The IOTA Foundation has managed to recover roughly 99 percent of the cryptocurrencies stolen during the January 2018 hack. Dominik Schiener, IOTA co-founder and co-chairman of its board, announced the news in an interview with Reuters, while also providing full disclosure of the crypto tokens taken in the attack.
The company also acknowledged the support of the European law enforcement agency Europol in its efforts to recover the stolen funds. Europol had launched its investigation last year after numerous thefts involving IOTA wallets were reported in Germany.
“From what we know, just a small amount of the 10 million euros has not been found. The exchanges have blocked the hacker’s accounts. He tried to free the money, but he did not succeed,” said IOTA co-founder.
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Last week, a UK national “who had a normal job and is well-educated” was arrested under suspicion of stealing €10 million ($11.34 million) in IOTA tokens. IOTA wallets have been targeted by hackers via websites that offer seed generating services. IOTA network initially reported that its nodes suffered a DDoS attack at the same time of the hack taking place, making it less noticeable to users.
IOTA owners access their tokens using an 81 character-long digital seed, which is similar to a private key, in order to generate the wallet and authenticate passwords. However, IOTA wallets do not actually store its tokens, but only act as a gateway to the technology group’s network, aka the Tangle, on which these tokens are stored.
The 36-year-old hacker operated a random password generator website, iotaseed.io, for around five months. The passwords it generated were, in fact, a predictable series of numbers of which the Oxford-based hacker was able to keep a record. He is now facing extradition to Germany to face trial.
IOTA was launched in 2015 as a cryptocurrency designed to be faster than Bitcoin by using a unique kind of network. The token ranks 14th among the top cryptocurrencies out there, with a market cap of $750 million according to coinmarketcap.com. At one point it even surpassed Ripple, although that particular spike in price was at least partly due to a misunderstanding regarding the company’s relationship with Microsoft.