In the world of cryptocurrency, forgotten or misplaced passwords can lead to untold fortunes remaining locked away and inaccessible. One such tale involves Stefan Thomas, a Swiss crypto entrepreneur based in San Francisco, who lost his password to an encrypted IronKey USB drive. This wasn’t just any drive, but one that holds the keys to 7,002 bitcoins, valued at around $235 million!
This saga caught the attention of a Seattle-based startup named Unciphered, which specializes in cracking encrypted codes. The team at Unciphered spent almost eight months honing their ability to crack a specific model of IronKey – the exact model Thomas used. Why? Because they believed they could unlock the drive and access Thomas’ bitcoin fortune.
Here’s the kicker. IronKeys are designed to erase their contents after just ten incorrect password attempts. However, the Unciphered team had developed a secret cracking technique that allowed for an infinite number of attempts.
After receiving a sample IronKey from a journalist, the Unciphered team was able to crack the code in less than a day and successfully access the drive. They attributed this success to a high-performance computer and approximately 200 trillion attempts.
Despite their demonstrated ability to crack the IronKey, Stefan Thomas has not availed of their services. Thomas had already attempted eight incorrect guesses, leaving him with just two attempts before the drive would wipe its contents. His reluctance to accept assistance from Unciphered is primarily due to prior commitments with two other hacking teams, despite no apparent progress from either.
This leaves Unciphered in an unusual predicament. They possess a potentially valuable password-cracking tool but have no lock to pick. Their unique ability to unlock IronKey USB drives could be a game-changer in the world of cryptocurrency, but for now, they’re left waiting for Thomas’ go-ahead.
In the meantime, Unciphered continues to refine its techniques and looks for other opportunities to unlock lost cryptocurrency fortunes. As for Thomas, whether he will eventually allow Unciphered to unlock his bitcoin fortune remains a mystery. After all, the decision to unlock his digital treasure chest lies solely with him. As this tale illustrates, dealing with technology can often be straightforward, but dealing with people – that’s where things can really get unpredictable!
Gladstone is a tech virtuoso, boasting a dynamic 25-year journey through the digital landscape. A maestro of code, he has engineered cutting-edge software, orchestrated high-performing teams, and masterminded robust system architectures. His experience covers large-scale systems, as well as the intricacies of embedded systems and microcontrollers. A proud alumnus of a prestigious British institution, he wields a computer-science-related honours degree.