Cryptographer Recovers $300,000 Worth Of Bitcoin Bought in 2016

Michael Stay, a Pyrofex Corp’s CTO and Google’s former security engineer for six years, saved a particular Russian investor from what could be termed a massive disaster as he helped the investor retrieve his $300,000 worth of Bitcoin from an encrypted ZIP file. 

According to an article on HackRead, the unidentified Russian investor bought Bitcoin worth $1.5 million back in 2016 and saved it in a password-protected ZIP file designed years ago by an amateur cryptographer. However, recently the investor is said to have forgotten the password encrypted keys and hence cannot have access to the remaining bitcoins on the ZIP file.

Michael Stay was a former cryptographer and reverse engineer back in the 1990s. He narrated his act of heroism at the DEFCON virtual event, one of the world’s largest and most notable hacker conventions, held annually in Las Vegas, Nevada.

At the event, Stay narrated how he came in contact with the Russian investor, who he termed as ‘the guy.’ According to him, the investor read an old cryptography article where he recounted techniques on how to hack into encrypted ZIP files and was impressed. Later on, the Russian investor contacted him in 2019 through LinkedIn and sought his assistance in retrieving the password.

Stay, who was eager to do the work, gladly accepted the job for $100,000. The investor, whose Bitcoin worth $10,000 back when he bought them but has now increased to $300,000 was more than willing to pay such an amount

In hacking into the ZIP file, Stay reported that he faced difficulties as the owner of the account couldn’t offer him as many clues as required and so had to attempt different combinations. 

However, with a series of steps, the ace cryptographer made his work easier. First, he inquired about the type of ZIP program. He found out it was an Info-ZIP software, later he identified the software version and lastly requested Pyrofex CEO Nash Foster to help him implement the encryption code on the Nvidia GPUs.

After much protocol, the months-long feat was accomplished in just a few days. With a low cost of $7,000, due to the old version of the encryption program. Stay was able to hack into the encrypted ZIP file and recover what is now $300,000 worth of Bitcoin.  

Evidently, the incident illustrates just how significantly the price of Bitcoin grew in the last decade. Aside from being the best performing asset class of the last decade, Bitcoin has also started the new decade on a high despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

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