The cryptocurrency phishing scammer behind some of the most high-profile and high-value Web3 thefts claims to have packed up shop, saying it was “time to move on to something better.”
The scammer with the pseudonym Monkey Drainer posted to their Telegram channel on March 1 that they “will be shutting down immediately” and all “files, servers and devices” related to the drainer “will be destroyed immediately” and it “will not return.”
The scammer even gave advice to budding “young cyber criminals” saying they shouldn’t “lose themselves in the pursuit of easy money” and only those “with the highest level of dedication” should operate a “large scale cybercrime” outfit.
Monkey Drainer even recommended a “flawless” alternative service to the one they once offered, named “Venom Drainer,” and pointed to a Telegram account for the service that was created only a day before Monkey’s announcement.
Blockchain security firm PeckShield tweeted on March 1 that within the last day, Monkey Drainer’s wallet deposited around 200 Ether (ETH) worth $330,000 into the crypto mixing service Tornado Cash, attempting to obscure their funds. There was 840 ETH, worth $1.4 million, still in their primary wallet.
#PeckShieldAlert Scammer #MonkeyDrainer, who runs theft schemes for multiple clients (a sort of 'scam-as-a-service') announced to shut down their service— PeckShieldAlert (@PeckShieldAlert) March 1, 2023
~200 $ETH has been transferred to Tornado Cash within the last 24 hours, while ~840 $ETH (~$1.4M) sits in their main address pic.twitter.com/1lg3KLRxhk
Blockchain security firm CertiK also shared Monkey’s message on a March 1 tweet, saying the crypto wallet-draining kit they offered is understood to take a 30% “commission” of funds stolen funds from others' use of the software.
Wallet-draining kits from other providers have copied the model, and CertiK pointed to other vendors already reporting an uptick in requests since Monkey Drainer announced the shutdown.
3/ Wallet drainer vendors have noted the payment structure Monkey introduced and have since copied— CertiK Alert (@CertiKAlert) February 28, 2023
Below are a few examples that we’ve seen: pic.twitter.com/i62aU5t2pv
Monkey Drainer is understood to have operated since late 2022 and is estimated to have stolen up to $13 million worth of cryptocurrencies and nonfungible tokens since that time.
Related: Monkey Drainer-linked scammers possibly exposed after an on-chain quarrel
Other copycat phishing scammers and wallet-draining kits have stolen much more. A report from Web3 bug bounty platform Immunefi revealed $3.9 billion worth of crypto was lost to hacks, frauds, scams and rug pulls in 2022.
Possibly one of the single most high-profile and high-value theft by a wallet drainer in recent times was the January attack on Kevin Rose, the co-founder of the Moonbirds NFT collection.
Rose’s wallet was drained after he approved a malicious signature on a phishing website that transferred over $1.1 million worth of his personal NFTs to the attacker.