Looks like trouble is brewing for a top-notch cybersecurity whiz at Amazon. Shakeeb Ahmed, a former security engineer, finds himself in hot water as federal prosecutors allege that he skillfully used his hacking expertise for malicious purposes. The accusation? Mr. Ahmed allegedly orchestrated a scheme to pilfer a staggering $9 million in assets from a cryptocurrency exchange last summer and then tried to conceal his ill-gotten gains through a web of online trickery.
Authorities apprehended the 34-year-old tech aficionado in Manhattan on Tuesday, charging him with wire fraud and money laundering. Although officials refrained from disclosing the name of Ahmed’s former employer, they did describe him as a “former security engineer” for an undisclosed “international technology company.” According to the allegations, Ahmed exploited a vulnerability in the smart contract of an unnamed Solana-based crypto exchange, enabling him to generate a massive $9 million in fraudulent fees. These fees were meant to be rightfully disbursed to platform customers who contributed substantial liquidity. However, Ahmed supposedly manipulated the software by injecting false price data, essentially conjuring money out of thin air. Additionally, he stands accused of attempting to squeeze more funds out of the exchange using “flash loan” attacks—a type of crypto exploit.
Initially, the company where Ahmed previously worked remained shrouded in mystery, as officials declined to reveal any details. However, cybersecurity blogger Jackie Singh shed some light on the matter on Tuesday evening. Singh claimed that Ahmed had been an employee at Amazon, citing various online profiles seemingly connected to the security expert.
Curious to learn more, Gizmodo reached out to Amazon for clarification regarding Ahmed’s employment. A spokesperson confirmed that Ahmed was no longer working for the company, although they couldn’t provide further insights into his role at the tech giant.
According to a LinkedIn profile matching Ahmed’s description, he held the position of “Senior Security Engineer” at Amazon and had been with the company since November 2020. The profile…