US seizes $30 million in cryptocurrency from North Korean hackers

The blockchain data analytics company Chainalysis has disclosed that United States officials have recovered cryptocurrency from North Korean hackers with a value of thirty million dollars. The director of investigations for the company made the following statement: “This represents the first time ever that cryptocurrency stolen by a North Korean hacking gang has been seized, and we’re convinced that it won’t be the last.”

$30 Million Worth of Cryptocurrency Linked to North Korea Is Seized

At the Axiecon event on Thursday, Erin Plante, a senior director of investigations at the blockchain data analytics business Chainalysis, disclosed that authorities have seized millions of dollars worth of cryptocurrencies from North Korean hackers.

She explained that this was made possible “with the assistance of law enforcement and major businesses in the bitcoin industry.”

Hackers with ties to North Korea were responsible for the theft of cryptocurrency worth over $30 million, which has already been recovered.

The director highlighted that this is the first time ever that cryptocurrency that was taken by a North Korean hacking outfit has been captured, and that we are convinced that it won’t be the last time.

Plante noted that Chainalysis played a role in the seizures by utilizing “advanced tracing techniques to follow stolen funds to cash out points and liaising with law enforcement and industry players to quickly freeze funds.” According to Plante, “the seizures represent approximately 10% of the total funds stolen from Axie Infinity (accounting for price differences between the time stolen and the time seized).” Plante also noted that Chainalysis played a role in the seizures by utilizing “

In March, more than 600 million dollars worth of Ronin Network tokens, which were constructed as a sidechain for the play-to-earn game Axie Infinity, were stolen. According to Chainalysis, a hacker group with ties to North Korea called the Lazarus Group was able to get access to five of the nine private keys held by transaction validators for the cross-chain bridge that Ronin Network operates.

After that, the hackers executed two withdrawal transactions, one for 173,600 ether (ETH) and the other for 25.5 million USD Coin (USDC), the company detailed, adding that the gang with ties to North Korea laundered these assets using “over 12,000 distinct crypto addresses to-date.”

The director highlighted that this is the first time ever that cryptocurrency that was taken by a North Korean hacking outfit has been captured, but that they are convinced that it won’t be the last time.

Plante noted that Chainalysis played a role in the seizures by utilizing “advanced tracing techniques to follow stolen funds to cash out points and liaising with law enforcement and industry players to quickly freeze funds.” According to Plante, “the seizures represent approximately 10% of the total funds stolen from Axie Infinity (accounting for price differences between the time stolen and the time seized).” Plante also noted that Chainalysis played a role in the seizures by utilizing “

In March, more than 600 million dollars worth of Ronin Network tokens, which were constructed as a sidechain for the play-to-earn game Axie Infinity, were stolen. According to Chainalysis, a hacker group with ties to North Korea called the Lazarus Group was able to get access to five of the nine private keys held by transaction validators for the cross-chain bridge that Ronin Network operates.

After that, the hackers executed two withdrawal transactions, one for 173,600 ether (ETH) and the other for 25.5 million USD Coin (USDC), the company detailed, adding that the gang with ties to North Korea laundered these assets using “over 12,000 distinct crypto addresses to-date.”

Chainalysis followed by explaining that the stolen ETH currencies were mixed together in batches using the well-known mixing service Tornado Cash. On the other hand, as a result of the sanctions imposed on Tornado Cash by the U.S. “Lazarus Group has moved away from the popular Ethereum mixer, instead leveraging defi [decentralized finance] services to chain hop, or switch between several different kinds of cryptocurrencies in a single transaction,” the blockchain data analytics company explained. This information was provided to the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the United States Treasury.

The director of investigations made the following observation: “One of the most worrisome trends in crypto crime right now is the spectacular surge in funds stolen from defi protocols, especially in particular cross-chain bridges.” He elaborated on this by saying the following:

We estimate that groups with ties to North Korea have stolen around $1 billion worth of cryptocurrencies from defi protocols so far in 2022. The stolen ETH coins were mixed in batches using the well-known mixing service Tornado Cash, according to Chainalysis. On the other hand, as a result of the sanctions imposed on Tornado Cash by the U.S. “Lazarus Group has moved away from the popular Ethereum mixer, instead leveraging defi [decentralized finance] services to chain hop, or switch between several different kinds of cryptocurrencies in a single transaction,” the blockchain data analytics company explained. This information was provided to the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the United States Treasury.

The director of investigations made the following observation: “One of the most worrisome trends in crypto crime right now is the spectacular surge in funds stolen from defi protocols, especially in particular cross-chain bridges.” He elaborated on this by saying the following:

According to our best estimates, entities with ties to North Korea have been responsible for the theft of nearly one billion dollars’ worth of cryptocurrencies from defi protocols thus far in 2022.

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