9Tales, the NFT card game earning project, has tracked down the hacker behind over $10 million worth of scams. In a notable Medium article and a matching Twitter thread, they detailed the crazy story behind the investigation. That’s how they found the hacker in a story straight out of Hollywood that involves searching through photos, the FBI, contacting the hacker, and more.
Why did 9Tales pursue a hacker?
On April 18th, someone hacked the 9Tales Discord with over 20,000 members. One of the admins was compromised and a fake minting page appeared on the discord. This was a quick and clever hack and they stole NFTs which they sold for 33 ETH.
Upon learning of the hack, 9Tales was shocked and immediately launched an internal audit and investigation to find out how it happened. Significantly, the team also promises to compensate all victims of the scam. They refunded over 37 ETH to the people who got scammed in their discord.
9Tales’ audit raised some serious security questions, leading them to conclude that the hack was through a phishing Discord invite.
One of the administrators was compromised, and after making sure he wasn’t the hacker, they moved on to the next phase. According to the Medium article, they’ve been trying to find clues to the hack for a long time.
“That sent us down a rabbit hole for 48 hours. We’ve exhausted many leads by reviewing on-chain transactions and off-chain leads. Meanwhile, one of our co-founders went into our logs and found a Discord ID that got a mod role during our hack,” 9Tales wrote.
9Tales contacts the hacker
The 9Tales team contacted the discord id they found and surprisingly got a message back right away. He quickly confirmed that he was the hacker behind the Discord scam. Surprisingly, he had more to confess. In fact, the hacker said he stole more than $10 million from more than 50 NFT projects.
He also sent screenshots of one of his $1 million+ crypto portfolios. He also wanted to talk about previous projects he had cheated on, naming various projects.
Significantly, he claims that he carried out many of these scams with the help of someone within the projects. He said that in a conversation he and his friends stole over $10 million from various NFT projects.
Notably, Twitter NFT fraud detective zachxbt created a chart of the hack trail. One of the hacker’s wallets contains $3.9 million.
The hacker slips
Curiously, the hacker also sent an image to 9Tales that appears to show his location, mocking the team. Eagle-eyed members of the 9Tales team noticed something in the background of the photo.
“There’s a towel in the corner of the picture, and on the side of that towel, just a few pixels across, is the name of some kind of hotel.”
Using the hotel’s name, they appeared to find a location on Google Street View with a similar backdrop, including trees and nature.
9Tales took advantage of the hacker’s greed to get more information and proceeded to contact him. Incredibly, the hacker tried to persuade the co-founder to help him hack 9Tales. The 9Tales co-founder eventually ended up in a phone conversation with the hacker.
The 9Tales team believed they had enough information to involve the authorities. They contacted the local police and waited for an answer.
Police and FBI get caught up in NFT hacking scam
Although he didn’t show his face, the scammer and 9Tales had several video calls. The background of the video confirmed to the team that the hotel found was where he was staying. They called the local police and after much persuasion eventually sent an officer to investigate.
The office confirmed that people stayed at the hotel, took their identification details with them and that they matched the description.
In an amazing turn of events, the 9Tales co-founder was actually on a video call with the hacker when the police arrived. “Funnily enough, our co-founder was on a video call with the scammer when the officer went looking for him. We have a recording of the scammer wondering why a cop was looking around. Without his knowledge, the officer was sent by us!”
Unfortunately, the police were unable to find out more details and the investigation was dropped. At that point, the 9Tales team contacted the FBI to tell them about the hacker.
However, the hacker still ran scams and made millions. He told the 9Tales co-founder that he was involved in the TicketTools bot hack that affected many major Discord servers like BAYC, Doodles, etc.
What’s Next for the 9Tales Hacker Investigation?
The FBI didn’t seem too interested, and the scammer is still robbing and hacking. This is a dangerous man who works with others to steal millions for people. One would think that for so much money the authorities would be more involved.
Unfortunately, 9Tales believes that they have now exhausted all their options and cannot proceed with the investigation.
At this point, the 9Tales team believes the best thing they can do to stop the hacker is to go public. In addition, they hope that others will take up the challenge of finding and building a strong case against the hacker.
“If anyone trusted or competent in this area believes they can help expedite this investigation and wishes to verify our claims, we invite you to contact us and we will be happy to assist you.” make our documents available once an NDA is signed,” 9Tales said.
Finally, one thing is for sure, this hacker likes to be noticed. He has repeatedly given details about himself and his whereabouts. He has also revealed vast amounts of information about his actions and the people he works with.
Hopefully, now that the information is public, someone will find enough to connect the dots of this notorious hacker.