Stolen Russian Darknet Funds Sent to Ukraine Charity

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  • A hacker has diverted funds stolen from a Russian dark web marketplace to a Ukraine charity
  • Alex Holden stole over $25,000 in bitcoin from the site through an undisclosed method
  • Holden diverted the funds to a Ukraine charity helping older citizens

A hacker who stole funds from a Russian dark web exchange has diverted the funds not to his bank account but to the war against Russia. Alex Holden, a Ukrainian-born cyber intelligence expert and the founder of Hold Security, told Forbes last week that he hacked into Solaris, one of Russia’s largest online drug markets, with help from his team at Hold Security. This resulted in bitcoin worth over $25,000 being stolen, which Holden has sent to a Kyiv charity aimed at helping the older generation in the city.

Holden Hacked Solaris

Holden provided few details about how he hacked into Solaris, stating only that he took control of much of the internet infrastructure behind Solaris, including some administrator accounts, obtained the website’s source code, and accessed a database of the site’s users and drop-off locations for drug deliveries.

Holden and his team were able to gain access to the “master wallet” of the Solaris marketplace, which was used by buyers and dealers to deposit and withdraw funds and functioned as the platform’s cryptocurrency exchange. Because of the high turnover, the wallet typically had no more than 3 at any given time. However, Holden was able to take 1.6 from the wallet and send it to Enjoying Life. In addition to the stolen funds, Hold Security also donated an additional $8,000 to the foundation.

Solaris Backing Russian Efforts

Solaris is also suspected to have connections to the hacking group Killnet. After Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in late February, Killnet emerged as one of Russia’s “patriotic” hacker groups, pledging to target Ukrainians and their supporters. In addition to attacking targets in Ukraine, Killnet has also conducted a number of attacks in the United States, including on airport and state government websites and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.

The group has also targeted the Eurovision Song Contest, the Estonian government, and Italy’s National Health Institute.