In one of the most dramatic moments in cryptocurrency history on YouTube, a streamer named Ian Balina was hacked out of $2 million during a livestream session.
Balina is best-known for his sponsored ICO reviews. During this latest livestream, Balina was reviewing an ICO when a viewer suddenly notified him that “someone” had moved all tokens out of his wallet.
“Ian, did you know that somebody transferred all your tokens from your account. Hope that it’s controlled movement,” explained the commenter, DABusiness, in a matter-of-fact way.
Balina continued with his ICO review and did not pay any public notice to the comment. 15 minutes later, however, Balina’s livestream abruptly ended. He came online to complete his ICO review a few hours later, blaming his disappearance on a power outage.
That’s when Balina noticed he had lost access to his Google Sheets document. During the livestream, you could see a “Signed out” message appear on the screen, suggesting that someone had changed the password to Balina’s Google account in the middle of the livestream.
Balina once again shut down his stream abruptly.
Later in the day, Balina posted an update on Telegram and admitted he got hacked:
“Hey Crypto Family, I need you now more than ever. I had to end today’s live stream abruptly because I am being hacked. I need your help tracking the funds being sent off from these Ether wallet addresses.”
Balina then posted his own ETH wallet addresses and the addresses of the hacker’s wallet addresses.
“I’m not worried about the money at this point. I’ve learned my lesson. My number one goal is to catch the hacker. Anyone who has information on the hack, please email [email protected] We will be using this email specifically for the hack incident. Thank you for all the support,” continued Balina.
Balina posted a similar update on Twitter.
Balina’s YouTube channel has 116,000+ subscribers. His Telegram channel has more than 26,000 members. He’s particularly popular among casual cryptocurrency investors, and his ICO reviews receive thousands of views. Thousands of viewers watched the hack occur in real-time.
He's posted a number of updates afterwards:
Balina Lost $2 Million in the Hack
Based on the casual way in which Balina responded to the hack, you’d think he lost $100. However, checking transaction data on Etherscan shows that Balina lost almost all of his tokens from his account. Hacked tokens included 20 million Nucleus Vision tokens, 2 million Pareto Network tokens, and 1 million Loom tokens, among others.
The total value of the lost tokens adds up to over $2 million.
How Did the Hack Occur?
How did a cryptocurrency specialist get hacked? What kind of tricks did the hacker use to steal $2 million from Balina?
In a follow-up tweet, Balina explained that he believes the attack was linked to his old college email address:
“This is how I think I got hacked. My college email was listed as a recovery email to my Gmail. I remember getting an email about it being compromised, and tried to follow up with my college security to get it resolved, but wasn’t able to get it handled in fast manner and gave up on it thinking it was just an old email.
I kept text versions of my private keys stored in my Evernote, as encrypted text files with passwords. I think they hacked my email using my college email, and then hacked my Evernote.”
The hackers, meanwhile, are moving the hacked coins to popular exchanges like Binance and KuCoin, where we assume they’ll be traded, mixed, and spread across different wallets. We’ll keep you posted on whether the identities of these hackers ever become known or if Balina recovers any of his $2 million in lost funds.
Balina, interestingly enough, translates to “whale” in Turkish.
Ian Balina Hack Update
There has been an interesting twist in the story. Redditors are claiming that Ian personally “lost” his coins in order to avoid paying taxes on them. Redditors have run wild with the story that news site are picking it up.
As you can see in his series of tweets, this has now been turned into a criminal investigation and Ian Balina isn't happy with “idots spreading BS” surrounding the hack.
Earlier today we had a copy of his tweet saying that tokens were being transferred to Kucoin, but has since been deleted.
He's has even reached out to one news source to update their article and remove any false information saying he has had sponsored ICO on his YouTube channel:
The latest updates show that Ian has recovered all of his PundiX Tokens that hadn't been moved yet.
Based on his series of tweets and the information he has posted on his YouTube channel and Reddit, he has a long battle ahead of him to probably never recovery what was taken. After all the hacks that have taken place on exchanges and personal wallets there is no time like the present to review our cryptocurrency security guide.