Telegram ‘hacker’ threatens ‘bombshell’ crypto revelations

Anonymous Twitter account threatens to expose ‘serious wrongdoing’ by crypto influencers

@adyingnobody claims that they were able to collect damning evidence thanks to a security vulnerability on the Telegram app – Photo: Shutterstock

A newly created Twitter account is sending shivers down the spines of crypto influencers – and with good reason.

Out of the blue on 7 June, @adyingnobody announced they had a treasure trove of data that would blow the murky world of digital assets wide open.

In a lengthy Twitter thread, the anonymous user unveiled plans to release 137GB of messages sent on Telegram, an app relied on by most in the cryptocurrency industry.

They warned that the revelations within this data dump “will likely tear a rift in the entire community”, a sector already licking its wounds because of a brutal bear market.

Telegram is often regarded as a secure and private platform for messaging. Not so, @adyingnobody alleges.

According to the anonymous person or persons behind the Twitter handle, a security vulnerability was discovered on the app back in 2019, and this meant messages sent by “targeted individuals” could be spied upon.

It i s not clear who was targeted or why, but @adyingnobody asserts that they were able to collect damning evidence for two-and-a-half years… right up until May 2022.

They claim the messages expose top crypto influencers, some of whom have more than one million followers, of engaging in serious wrongdoing.

The chat logs are said to document high-profile individuals using racist and homophobic language, and openly discussing adultery and sexual assault.

Other influencers are said to discuss rug-pull projects that were “intended to scam the community and individuals”, an especially worrying development considering some of them will be regarded as trustworthy sources of information by followers.

Worse still, @adyingnobody also claims there is compelling evidence of criminal activity, including child abuse, a group of friends coordinating a murder so they could steal the victim’s cryptocurrency, and three assassinations.

They also claim that the data dump will uncover some of the industry's worst excesses, with “invitations to orgies” on private jets and in mansions. Meanwhile, men harbouring “weird obsessions” apparently gifted their ex-girlfriends millions of dollars in an attempt to win them back.  

Just one of these stories would normally command endless column inches, but now, within a matter of days, journalists face being overwhelmed with a barrage of material to examine. The exercise would be comparable to when WikiLeaks released diplomatic cables. Back then, some news outlets taking on this Everestian challenge actually asked their readers to help them scour each page.

As with all things in life, there is much uncertainty surrounding @adyingnobody’s claims, and whether this data even exists.

Telegram issues firm denial

 Telegram itself has issued a firm denial that such a devastating exploit was even possible to begin with.

“An anonymous account made a baseless claim that they were able to access the contents of private group chats on Telegram,” the app wrote on Twitter. “No such vulnerability has ever been found.”

Telegram went on to dismiss @adyingnobody’s threat as “likely a hoax with the intent to get users to download malware”, and it i's entirely possible this is the case.

We do not know who @adyingnobody is, and news outlets, including, have been unable to get in touch with her, him or them.

There are fears the alleged revelations could be an attempt to get curious individuals to download a big ZIP file that would sidestep anti-virus software, both because of its size, and the fact that it is password protected.

Given that @adyingnobody has promised  to deliver excerpts to journalists from news outlets that they regard as reputable, it could be a brazen attempt to install malware or keylogger software on devices belonging to high-profile individuals.

The dangers of malware like this are well-documented, and such malware could also be used to steal cryptocurrencies or NFTs.

What we know about @adyingnobody

 During their in-depth Twitter thread, @adyingnobody sought to explain why they had decided to release all this data now.

They claimed they are “dying from illnesses that are wreaking havoc on my body,” something no one has been able to verify.

Guilt is another motivation, according to the @adyingnobody Twitter feed, supposedly not least because they “got rich” after becoming a part of many venture capital groups and they want to make amends. In their words, they are trying to “undo the power and success granted to those that do not deserve it.”

@adyingnobody seems to be operating on the basis that their true identity would emerge soon after the revelations become public.

What happens next?

For all of Telegram’s denials and @adyingnobody’s self-claimed certainty, they both cannot be right, and we will know who is wrong pretty soon.

According to the @adyingnobody Twitter thread, the first excerpts from this supposed data dump are going to be released on 15 June, with an additional tranche to follow on 30 June.

“Everything will be released” on 7 July, @adyingnobody said.

It will thus be a matter of days before we find out whether @adyingnobody is credible. Journalists who know how to take safety precautions will download the files, and ascertain whether they are malicious, and whether the contents are genuine.

Be very careful if you are tempted to download these files yourself. There can be a great risk if you decide to do so, especially if they do turn out to be malicious.

If @adyingnobody was having us all for a ride, there will undoubtedly be a few crypto influencers out there who wipe down their sweaty brows and breathe a sigh of relief. And if malware is involved, some might end up losing money.

But if @adyingnobody is telling the truth. Reputations could be damaged, crypto projects could be left in tatters, and the police could be getting involved. There could be a crisis of confidence among everyday investors. This could spark downward pressure on the crypto markets, and prompt big names on Wall Street to re-evaluate whether they really want to be involved in this sector. As for Telegram, a leak of this scale has the potential to irreparably damage its business, and prompt users to jump ship to other apps.

Circle June 15 in your diary. One way or another, it is going to be interesting.

Further reading

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