Ian Balina is a well-known, sponsored YouTube blogger or rather Vlogger. He is known for reviewing cryptocurrency initial coin offerings (ICOs) via live streaming of videos. Unfortunately, the blogger became a victim of cybercrime recently where he lost roughly $2 million in tokens.
What happened was that while Balina was busy with his stream, a viewer noticed that all the tokens stored in Balina’s wallet got drained; the viewer posted about this as well but the comment went unnoticed. The comment read: “Ian, did you know that somebody transferred all your tokens from your account?”
After 15 minutes, Balina’s broadcast abruptly ended (which he claims was caused by a power outage) so he took out the plug and didn’t turn on the device until two hours. Balina then came back online and believes that hacker somehow stole the cryptocurrency when he was conducting the second session and he was again forced out of this session unwillingly.
It is believed that someone hacked his old college email address, which he has listed as his main email recovery address in Gmail. The email address was hacked previously and he received an email from the college about it too. He worked with the security team of the college to fix the issue but since it took too long so he just gave up using that old address.
“I kept text versions of my private keys stored in my Evernote, as encrypted text files with passwords. I think they hacked my [Gmail] using my college email and then hacked my Evernote,” said Balina.
Crypto Family, I need you now more than ever. I ended today's live stream b/c I am being hacked. I'm not worried about the money. I learned my lesson. I only care about catching the hacker. Please email any information to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you all the support. $ETH $BTC
— Ian Balina (@DiaryofaMadeMan) April 16, 2018
Much later, Balina revealed that he didn’t halt the broadcast on his own but was actually forced out of his Google Sheets profile. Now, he is planning to catch the hacker who caused him so much trouble and financial loss, though he isn’t worried too much about the money and taking the incident as a lesson.
Etherscan has identified 121 transactions listed by Balina under the handle IanBal_Hack followed by numbers up to four. He transferred 1 million Loom tokens, over 20 million Nucleus Vision tokens, 2 million Pareto Network tokens, over 75,000 Bread and others related to VIN, IndianHash, Telcoin and WaBi.
Viewers are of the opinion that this could very well be a planned attack just to evade paying taxes or could be the result of storing private keys in a Box account with an Excel file, which is totally unwise. Or, it might also be a result of his popularity on the internet given that he has over 116,000 YouTube followers, which definitely makes him a key target.
But it is also a fact that Balina’s net worth is down $2 million in cryptocurrency just because he relied on Evernote and his digital coins are also being washed out from KuCoin, Binance, and other exchanges.
On his Telegram channel, Balina posted this: “Hey Crypto Family, I need you now more than ever. I had to end today’s live stream abruptly because I am being hacked.”
The post was followed by three wallet addresses, which Balina was trying to track. He later released this statement to Gizmodo:
“I’ll be ready to talk when the criminal has been arrested. We have identified who did it and this is a lot bigger than me. Other big names in crypto have been hacked by this criminal. Currently working with FBI, that’s all that I can say. The allegations that I would pull a stunt like this publicly for tax evasion is completely ludicrous. Any attempts to write anything regarding those lies will be met with legal action.”