Hal Finney’s Bitcointalk Account Password Changed After 4 Years of Inactivity

Hal Finney is a Computer Scientist who worked for the PGP corporation. He is known in the Bitcoin community for being the first user to receive a Bitcoin transaction – coming from Satoshi. Recently, Finney’s bitcointalk account’s password was changed which has some members concerned.

In October 2009 Hal Finney announced that he was diagnosed with ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis), unfortunately he passed away five years later in August of 2014. Furthermore, he spent the last years of his life under constant extortion threats from anonymous callers demanding 1,000 Bitcoins in order to stop “swatting” him. That is when a criminal spoofs an anonymous call admitting to a heinous crime while pretending to be the victim, the goal is to have a SWAT unit show up to the victims house and essentially perform a raid.

Due to a history of hackers messing with Hal, it is concerning to see his Bitcointalk account password changed via email. There should be no reason for any activity on that account as it’s creator is no longer with us. As Cryptoup first pointed out in this thread:

I found that Hal’s password was changed recently via email. Do you guys have any idea of who is using his account after him?

Using the bitcointalk account trust url one can see if an account’s password was recently changed, Hal’s account shows the following message: “This user’s password was reset recently”. Furthermore, taking a look at Hal’s profile we can see that the account was last active Today!

hal finney account activity

The account’s last post was in 2013, so it is quite puzzling as to why it was recently active? One possible explanation is that a hacker has cracked his account’s password. Bitcointalk was hacked last year and all of it’s user data including hashed passwords surfaced for sale on the darknet.

Many Bitcointalk accounts have been compromised and hashed passwords were cracked, especially those that didn’t bother to change the password after the hack – which was made very public. It comes to no surprise that Hal didn’t change his password between 2013 and 2016 so it is entirely possible that hacker was able to gain access to the account. Hal was the second most important person after Satoshi, some even believe that he was Satoshi himself. Hopefully the recent account activity is just a misunderstanding and not another malicious attack.

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