Barely a month after the huge success that was the Free Ross-A-Thon fundraiser (which was co-hosted by a number of high-profile personalities alongside Ross’s mother, Lyn Ulbricht) was held, disaster struck.
Reports of the hacking of the email addresses, the Twitter account, the phone numbers, and worst of all, the Bitcoin and PayPal accounts linked to Free Ross came just a few weeks afterward.
ANNOUNCEMENT: Silk Road 3.0 is BACK ONLINE and open for business. The team did a massive security overhaul on the site to try and make it more secure and anonymous.
Fundraiser Had Garnered Close to $50,000
The Free Ross-A-Thon was dedicated to helping the family of the Silk Road founder raises about $14,000 in legal fees, which would be used to print Ross’s court appeal documents.
The fundraiser exceeded all expectations by a mile as the proceeds from well-wishers reached $23,500 before Roger Ver, a Bitcoin entrepreneur, matched Ross Ulbricht’s legal fees, bringing the total to $47,000.
Another significant contribution was made by the American Black Cross, a non-profit organization that seeks to help out political prisoners.
The founder, who also happens to be the man behind DefenseDistributed, donated $5,000 to the Silk Road founder’s cause.
The Hacking was announced on 31st December
The announcement was first made during the early morning hours of 31st December via the Free Ross Facebook account.
A similar notice was also put up on Reddit. They informed the public what had happened and asked well-wishers to stop sending in the donations using the normal channels until the matter was clarified.
Unfortunately, this message did not reach as far as it was intended since donations of 1.1 BTC were received in the original PayPal account after the notice was posted.
The blockchain indicated that the hack actually took place on 29th December when two amounts totaling to 20.4 BTC were withdrawn from the account on two separate occasions.
On the morning of the 31st December, shortly before the notice was posted, another withdrawal of 24.7 BTC was made.
Outrage over the Hacking of the Silk Road Founder’s Funds
Roger Ver, the biggest contributor to the Silk Road founder’s cause, was openly upset over the hacking of the Free Ross accounts.
He let his outrage known through his Twitter account on the same day of the incident by posting a tweet which read in part: “hackers who target those who are already dealing with heartache deserve all our contempt” followed by a link to the Reddit post that warned well-wishers not to donate using the pre-established channels.
Ver was also visibly enraged by the incident as he showed on various Reddit comments, one of which showed his strong feelings towards the hackers who he felt should “burn in hell.”
Hackers Took Over Email Addresses for the Silk Road Initiative
It is said that the hackers had managed to get access to the Free Ross email account, which they had been using to solicit donations from well-wishers.
Ver had received one of such requests which he claimed was poorly put together in broken English.
The hackers are said to have been requesting donations from the well-wishers for another Free Ross meeting, this time a New Year’s party.
Google Helped Free Ross to Gain Control over their Account
On 3rd January, Lyn Ulbricht reported that they had managed to regain control over their previously hacked Gmail account and had managed to track down every last penny that had been donated towards the Silk Road founder’s cause.
She also reported that their PayPal account had not been hacked, that everything was in order and that well-wishers could resume sending their donations to the previously established bitcoin address.
Based on the success of the previous campaign, plans for the next Free-Ross-A-Thon are said to be in the works, and all pointers show that it might take place in 2017.