A hacker claims to have gained access to the email account of Satoshi Nakamoto, the founder of Bitcoin and until this point, a secret and anonymous figure. The hacker is threatening to reveal private information in exchange for money.
The hacker who is going by the name, “Jeffrey”, responded to emails from Wired and stated the he had taken over the firstname.lastname@example.org email address and could reveal the identity of Nakamoto and that he is very much alive.
This email address was the one Nakamoto used to communicate with early Bitcoin adopters in the cryptocurrency’s infancy. Jeffrey claims it was quite easy to get into.
“The fool used a primary gmx under his full name and had aliases set up underneath it. He’s also alive.”
Jeffrey posted his demands on Pastebin and is asking for 25 bitcoins (roughly $12,000).
He hasn’t revealed any specifics on how he took control of the account but he did post on P2P Foundation using the account to say that Nakamoto failed to configure Tor correctly:
Dear Satoshi. Your dox, passwords and IP addresses are being sold on the darknet. Apparently you didn’t configure Tor properly and your IP leaked when you used your email account sometime in 2010. You are not safe. You need to get out of where you are as soon as possible before these people harm you. Thank you for inventing Bitcoin.
It also appears that a number of people have received emails from the hijacked email account. Michael Marquardt, head of Bitcoin Talk, posted on the forum to say he had received a message.
“Today I received an email from email@example.com (Satoshi’s old email address), the contents of which make me almost certain that the email account is compromised,” he wrote. “The email was not spoofed in any way. It seems very likely that either Satoshi’s email account in particular or gmx.com in general was compromised, and the email account is now under the control of someone else. Perhaps firstname.lastname@example.org expired and then someone else registered it.”
Marquardt says he isn’t convinced that it was a hacking incident and could easily be a troll at the same time, making false claims.
If “Jeffrey” is who he says he is, then he is sitting on gold mine of information that could change Bitcoin or it could all be bluster.