Platypus Finance Hackers Acquitted: ‘Ethical Hacker’ Defense Prevails

In a recent court case that Le Monde reported, a French court cleared the people accused of planning the $8.5 million hack of Platypus Finance, an Automated Market Maker protocol running on the Avalanche blockchain in February 2023, of all charges.

The court’s ruling that “French criminal law does not technically outlaw hacks of protocol” led to the dismissal. The fact that the hackers were freed despite the blatant crimes adds even more difficulty to lawsuits involving crypto exploits.

Court Clears Accused In Smart Contract Trial

Authorities captured Mohammed, the accused, and his brother Benamar M. about a week after the financial platform became the subject of a targeted cyberattack.

The court determined that under no criminal statutes did Mohammed’s usage of smart contracts, which was both unlicensed and publicly accessible, amount to an illegal computer system breach. Moreover, the courts found that using Platypus’s defective emergency withdrawal mechanism to siphon tokens did not fulfill legal standards for fraud.

Strangely, Mohammed and Benamar publicly acknowledged their role in the crime while posing as “ethical hackers” at a court hearing on October 26.

Ethical hackers, also called white hat hackers, collaborate with organizations to identify and fix security vulnerabilities in computer systems. With explicit permission, they conduct tests to strengthen digital defenses, aiming to prevent malicious exploits.

Their argument was based on their plan to give the money back to Platypus in exchange for a 10% reward. As an “ethical hacker,” Mohammed said he always planned to refund the money. His goal was to obtain a 10% bounty for white-hat work.

French authorities were able to identify the brothers after the Platypus Finance attack in February thanks to the efforts of crypto investigator ZachXBT and support from Binance.

The 22-year-old Mohammed was later charged with several offenses connected to the assault, according to Le Monde. The accusation against his brother, Benamar M., was receiving stolen property.

AVAX market cap currently at $8.31 billion. Chart:

Platypus Hack: $2.4M Recovered In Counter-Hack

Meanwhile, Mohammed committed a crucial mistake during the flash loan attack, which led to the unintentional lockup of millions of dollars’ worth of stolen cryptocurrency, with just about $270,000 being recovered. Platypus Finance counter-hacked in response, recovering $2.4 million in stablecoin USDC.

Based on their research, blockchain security company CertiK found that the hack on October 12 happened in three parts, with each part stealing $2.23 million, $575,000, and $450,000 in different cryptocurrencies.

Hacking events involving the decentralized finance (DeFi) technology Platypus have been frequent. Another flash loan exploit hit the site in October, causing losses of more than $2 million. According to CertiK’s analysis, there have been multiple hacks that have taken varying sums of cryptocurrency.

Nevertheless, thanks to an agreement struck with the hacker in October, Platypus was able to retrieve 90% of the money that had been taken.

The court’s decision to drop the criminal charges against the defendants marks a significant turning point in the court case’s legal proceedings and highlights the depth and complexity of deciding crimes involving the internet.

In the past 24 hours, AVAX’s price has gone up 3.8% following news of the Platypus hackers’ acquittal. At press time, it was selling at $22.88. The price had made several higher highs and lower lows and didn’t seem to be slowing down.

Featured image from Shutterstock


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