Photo illustration showing the North Korean flag and computer hackers.
Budrul Chukrut | Sopa Images | Light Rocket | Getty Images
US officials claim that North Korea’s state-sponsored hacking group Lazarus Group is associated with a large-scale cryptocurrency hack that led to the theft of $ 615 million in digital assets.
Thursday, Ministry of Finance, Office of Foreign Assets Control publication New sanctions on Ethereum wallets belonging to Lazaro.
According to cryptographers, the identified wallet has Attack on Ronin networkSupports the popular blockchain game Axie Infinity. Over $ 600 million of ether tokens and USDC tokens were stolen in this attack.
Hackers abuse what is called a blockchain “bridge.” This allows users to transfer digital assets from a cryptographic network to another network. Bridges are an increasingly popular tool in the fast-growing “distributed finance” or DeFi world.
Newly announced sanctions allow U.S. individuals and entities to trade with identified Ethereum accounts to prevent hackers from “monetizing” the funds they may hold in U.S. crypto exchanges. Forbidden to do, blockchain analysis company Elliptic said Blog post..
Another crypto research group, Chainalysis, said its attribution to Lazarus underscores the importance of “how North Korean threat actors abuse crypto and improve the security of the DeFi protocol.” ..
Lazarus, believed to be run by the North Korean state, has been associated with several major cyberattacks over the years, including the 2014 hack on Sony Pictures and the 2017 WannaCry ransomware attack. ..
According to cybersecurity experts, North Korea has repeatedly tried to use crypto as a way to circumvent U.S. sanctions. Possibility of using digital assets to avoid Russian sanctions In the Ukrainian war.
Earlier this week, 39-year-old American crypto expert Virgil Griffith said 5 years imprisonment For helping North Korea use cryptocurrencies to circumvent sanctions.
Proponents of cryptocurrencies say that their activities are recorded in a public ledger known as the blockchain, so they are an ineffective tool for washing out unearned profits.
However, according to Elliptic, criminals have many free techniques for laundering cryptocurrencies. According to the company, as of Thursday, Ronin’s attack “successfully laundered 18% of the stolen funds,” according to internal analysis.
Hackers initially exchanged USDC tokens stolen through unregulated decentralized exchanges for ether and prevented them from being seized, but then about profits through centralized exchanges such as FTX and Huobi. Laundered $ 17 million.
After that, they used what was called a “mixer”. This is a service aimed at hiding traces of funds by mixing potentially identifiable streams of cryptocurrencies with others. According to Elliptic, more than $ 80 million has been sent through this mixing service called Tornado Cash.