Be right back, writing down my password somewhere safe so I don’t lose my huge investment of $20 in bitcoin…
A report by The New York Times estimates that about $140 billion in Bitcoin has not been claimed by owners because of forgotten passwords. This research was further supported by Chainalysis, a cryptocurrency data firm that reported that roughly 20% of 18.6 billion Bitcoin that was mined has been lost in wallets without any movement for years. This is where ethical hacking comes in.
Chris and Charlie Brooks are a father-son team who are helping Bitcoin owners gain access to their assets after being locked out after forgetting their passwords. The duo operates the Crypto Asset Recovery company and describes themselves as ‘ethical hackers’ as their mission is to help Bitcoin owners retrieve their long-lost crypto investment which could be a life-changing amount today as Bitcoin has reached a high value of $48,152 in August this year.
It’s not surprising that the Brooks family has a background in programming and computer science which makes it easier for them to understand the principle behind hacking into a Bitcoin wallet and retrieve the assets which were once thought to be irretrievable. The process is very time-consuming which starts with interviewing the clients and getting a better idea of what their password could be based on their description. “The more information they can give, the better, because then we can extrapolate on how they create passwords and their thought process behind it,” said Charlie Brooks. The father and son then compile a list of all the possible passwords which is then used to ‘brute force’ the owner’s digital wallet.
The success rate for this process is about 27% as recovering bitcoin passwords with prior knowledge works in their favor whereas hackers trying random passwords greatly reduces the success rate of the overall process. But the times they have been successful has resulted in the owner getting rich in a day!