American comedian and actor best known for his trademark deadpan humor on television’s Saturday Night Live and for his film roles, Bill Murray is the latest celebrity to be targeted by crypto thieves.
An Ethereum (ETH) wallet belonging to actor Bill Murray was hacked hours after receiving funds from a non-fungible tokens (NFTs) auction inspired by his life.
The actor lost the 119.2 ETH raised from the auction, although investigations are ongoing to identify the perpetrator, CoinDesk reported on September 2.
On-chain analysis data by Etherscan indicates that the hacker began retrieving the funds on September 1. Furthermore, the actor’s team noted that the bad actor tried to steal about 800 NFTs from Murray’s personal collection but the plot was foiled.
Following the attempt, the actor’s wallet security team from NFT consultancy platform Project Venkman moved the collection to a pair of safehouse wallets.
According to CNBC, Criminals made off with 119.2 ETH (about $185,000) that the actor had raised during his NFT charity auction. The unknown hackers also attempted to steal non-fungible tokens from Murray’s personal collection, which includes two CryptoPunk NFTs, according to Coindesk.
According to GoBankingRates, CryptoPunks are among the most sought after NFTs and can range in price from $77,600 to $1.2 million in ether.
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The “Groundhog Day” star’s virtual wallet security team, NFT consultancy firm Project Venkman, was able to protect his NFTs. However, they were unable to protect the funds raised for charity. It could be difficult to retrieve them since cryptocurrency transactions are typically irreversible.
Murray’s team says they’ve filed a police report and are working with crypto analytics company Chainalysis to identify the thief.
Although Murray’s charity funds appear to be gone, another Coinbase user has donated about $187,500 worth of ether to Chive Charities, the non-profit Murray was raising funds for, to replace the money that was stolen, per CNBC.
As reported by Finbold, Initial investigations indicate that the hacker transferred the stolen funds to an address linked to crypto exchange Binance and Union Chain. At the same time, it is not yet clear how the hacker managed to gain access to the funds.
Murray’s team is also engaging with crypto analysis firm Chainalysis to conduct a forensic audit into the incident.
“We engaged Chainalysis within 10 minutes of learning of the attack last night. They’ll have a bigger report on that, and they’re still investigating all of the threads,” said Gavin Gilles from Project Venkman.
Most of the remaining collectibles were set to be sold next week, along with other NFTs the actor owns through his business partners. NFTs from the collection include exclusive anecdotes and stories from Murray.
The actor’s team has also filed a police report following the incident to commence investigations.
The NFT auction was completed on August 31 as part of an initiative to raise funds for the Chive Charities initiative. The proceeds were to support the care of a three-year-old girl identified as Evelyn, who is contending with the effects of a rare CLDN5 gene mutation and intractable epilepsy.
Interestingly, following the loss, a Coinbase user sent 120 ETH to Chive Charities to replace the lost amount.
Although crypto scams involving celebrities tend to be the most high-profile, they’re certainly not the most common, says Chen Arad, chief operating officer of Solidus Labs, a company that provides services like trade surveillance, transaction monitoring, and threat intelligence to some of the largest exchanges.
“Scammers do not discriminate and target anyone they think they can get money from, from celebrities to royalty to average people,” he tells CNBC Make It.
However, cyber criminals tend to go after celebrities in particular because “it adds buzz” and attracts more attention, Arad explains. “Celebrities are also perceived as wealthy and often are, making them a great target,” he says. “Celebrities deal with a high volume of offers/suggestions which could mean less time to properly review and assess their legitimacy.”
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Sources: Finbold, CNBC, CoinDesk
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