Mad Lads NFT drop escaped extortion by tricking bots into spending $250k on bogus NFTs

Mad Lads NFT drop escaped extortion by tricking bots into spending $250k on bogus NFTs

Touted Solana NFT drop overpowered blackmail pressure and denial of service attacks by offering a bogus mint to the bots, which saw botters spend about $250,000 on a hoax mint, said Coral CEO Armani Ferrante.

Battle with the enemy

Mad Labs continues to make headlines in the NFT space after emerging as the top mint in its category for months and glazing the NFT market last weekend. Prospects did not fall in place as expected for the drop as bots overpowered the mint leading to a 24-hour postponement.

The Mad Labs team worked tirelessly to reclaim their glory by tricking the conspirators into pouring over $250,000 to purchase fake digital assets. Eventually, the money was refunded, but the plot helped maintain supply for the legitimate people while pushing off those with evil intents of quick self-gaining.

According to Armani Ferrante, the CEO of Coral, the company decided to encounter the bots for the goodness of the project. Ferrante said the extortion started last week with anonymous Telegram messages with threats to “take down” the Backpack app and spoil the drop.

How the attack unfolded

Ferrante said that the intruder orchestrated a denial-of-service attack which engulfed the drop with numerous requests and demanded ransom to stop. The company needed more cash since more than 70% of its capital was unreachable following FTX’s fall.

Ferrante said the attacker unleashed “billions of requests,” affecting the Mad Lads drop. The attacker engaged in a cat-and-mouse game, trying to reverse-engineer the code, necessitating the company to alter antibody tactics.

Lured into the trap

The exercise led to a 24-hour postponement until Friday night when Coral had developed a strategy to encounter bots. Coral directed a couple of back-to-back updates, one being the legitimate and another available through reverse engineering.

The latter was a decoy pointing the attacker to the fake mint, while the first was the real mint. The attacker fell into the trap and spent $250,000. On Friday, Mad Labs tweeted “HONEYPOT BITCH” indicating the account that orchestrated stored money from the fake mint. According to Ferrante, the hoax helped Mad Lads to conduct the drop effectively.

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