An Ethereum enthusiast contactedKeychainXa few months ago with a unique story.
He participated in an Ethereum presale in 2014 and for just 300USD accumulated a fantastic 1000 ETH worth about $4 million today – an amazing 13,000x increase in value.
The story began when Alex sent a question to the KeychainX team asking if the team was dealing with a corrupted wallet. Alex suspected that the wallet was corrupted or that the encryption was incorrect. He was not surprised, because he had saved his password along with other passwords to his Splash ID and used it to copy-paste it into the pre-sale web page to participate in the Ethereum token sale.
Since he uses multiple systems and various language settings (Alex is half French), including iPad, mac, and smartphone, he was worried that there might be some inconvenience or language character decryption errors.
The password was quite long, 99 characters, and contained several special and non-ASCII characters, which made it a devil’s task. However, inserting random characters in arbitrary positions is possible for short passwords; for passwords nearly 100 characters long, it was impossible.
But Alex was pretty sure of the password, so KeychainX “only” had to find out what was wrong. Of course, the password was also sexual in nature, so it was hilarious to write various password deviations using sexual language.
The stubborn KeychainX team first added letters at random in positions where they thought there might be a problem. For example, if there was a non-English character, the code would convert it to two characters, which ended up increasing the search space significantly. So we would do that and get no results.
So I looked at the Splash ID source code, reverse engineered it, and tried to reproduce the problem; there are many versions of Splash ID, and their page did not present itself as open source. No luck.
A few weeks later, a Russian client contacted KeychainX with a completely different wallet using Cyrillic characters, and since most of KeychainX’s custom tools were written for English or Latin passwords, the team had to source the old tools code and had to figure out how to translate them to fit their system.
The idea for Alex’s wallet was born.
What if the tools used and the unique characters that encrypt his wallet were translated through the encryption software like Cyrillic characters.
Returning to the presale wallet, the team attacked the location of those special characters with the same approach as the Cyrillic letters. However, there was a problem.
In general, most wallet software that imported the wallet and displayed the private key did not work, and the password was not accepted because the special characters were outside the boundaries of their respective codes and character sets. Instead, the team had to manually decrypt the wallet and export the private key using a foreign character set.
After moving the funds, KeychainX called Alex several times, but kept getting his answering machine. So the team sent an email to Alex, but still no response.
It took almost three days for him to return to KeychainX, and it was a bit nerve-wracking to have someone’s US$4 million sitting around with no idea where that person was. The Ethereum price also swung wildly, so the value moved in both directions by hundreds of thousands of dollars each day.
So the team wired Alex his share of the money, told him good luck and to be careful, and never heard from him again.KeychainX hopes he is enjoying his newly regained and long lost fortune
Disclaimer This article was written by Written by Robert Rhodin, CEO of KeychainX Crypto Recovery Service. To learn more about us, please visit https://keychainx.io [email protected] If you would like to discuss password recovery, please email the team.
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