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Hackers offer solution for man who has two more password attempts to access over $350 million of Bitcoin before it's lost
Featured Image Credit: X/@stefanthomas / Chesnot/Getty Images

Hackers offer solution for man who has two more password attempts to access over $350 million of Bitcoin before it's lost

He lost a piece of paper containing the password for his hard drive a decade ago

Stefan Thomas would be sitting on a cool $240 million if he hadn't forgotten his password, but hackers might have the solution he's been looking for.

In 2011, San Francisco-based Stefan Thomas uploaded an animated video to YouTube titled 'What Is Bitcoin' for a Bitcoin enthusiast in Switzerland.

He was paid 7,002 Bitcoins for making the short one-minute clip.

Today, with the value of Bitcoins having sky-rocketed, and his collection now would worth a staggering $350 million. Not bad for a one-minute animated video, right?

But Stefan has a pretty big problem.

The German-born computer programmer lost the piece of paper containing the password to the encrypted IronKey hard drive where the Bitcoin is kept a decade ago and has been unable to access the account ever since.

Now, Thomas faces losing his fortune forever.

You see, this hard drive isn't your standard piece of tech.

It's so secure that it gives whoever is trying to access it just 10 guesses to figure out the password before it basically self-destructs, making the contents inaccessible to anyone - even its rightful owner.

Stefan Thomas' $240 million fortune is hanging in the balance with just two password attempts left to access the hard drive his Bitcoin is kept in.
X/Stefan Thomas

Since the value of Bitcoin skyrocketed, Thomas has attempted to access the hard drive in various different ways, unsuccessfully using up eight of his 10 attempts.

The programmer now has just two guesses left before his fortune is lost forever.

But he's not the only person trying to get into the hard drive.

Groups of cybersecurity experts tempted by the possibility of hacking the wallet have also been attempting to figure out how to break into it.

And one claims to have found a solution.

Hackers claim to have found a solution that will let Stefan access his Bitcoin fortune.

Unciphered, a firm that specializes in recovering lost cryptocurrency, say they have found a way to crack into decade-old IronKey hard drives.

They demonstrated the method with Wired journalist, Andy Greenberg, who set a password and had it messaged to him the following day.

But, despite the large fortune at stake, Thomas isn't interested, for now at least.

When Unciphered reached out to him with their method, he declined their help due to agreements he has with other teams who are also looking for solutions.

Speaking to Wired, Thomas said: “I have already been working with a different set of experts on the recovery so I'm no longer free to negotiate with someone new.

“It's possible that the current team could decide to subcontract Unciphered if they feel that's the best option. We'll have to wait and see."

Topics: Money, Cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, Technology, News