The U.S. Treasury Department has come up with some serious allegations against North Korea hacking group Lazarus who is said to have performed the biggest crypto hack of $625 million through Ronin Bridge linking Axie Infinity.
A month ago Sky Mavis discovered and informed about the hack of 175,000 ETH tokens along with 25.5 million USD coins (USDC) which possessed a total valuation of $625 million. However, the connecting Ronin Network was immediately pulled off and a thorough investigation was propagated by the authorities.
The blockchain analytics organizations consisting of Chainanalysis and Elliptic also confirmed the allegations and said that North Korea is victimizing the entire crypto industry for its benefit. According to Coindesk reports, the Treasury Department added an Ethereum address to their sanctioned list on Thursday. Whereas, the wallet profiler Nansen labeled the address as ‘Ronin Bridge Exploiter’ holding a whooping some of 148,000ETH.
Earlier in mid-April, the stolen funds were noticed to be moving in Tornado Cash which provides non-custodial privacy solutions to its users. Several transactions ranging from 100ETH to 1,000 ETH were moved to an unknown Ethereum address on the Tornado Cash platform. To reimburse the affected users, Sky Mavis raised $150 million from various investors and crypto supporting platforms including Binance.
The North Korean Lazarus Group
The Lazarus Group is a notorious cybercriminal syndicate that operates under the supervision of the North Korean Government. The cybercrime group comes under the intelligence bureau ‘The Reconnaissance General Bureau’. Accordingly, the hacking group has performed some of the infamous heists on bigtime channels like ‘WannaCry’, and Sony Pictures Entertainment leaking confidential data to the public.
Last year, the group performed at least seven attacks on cryptocurrency platforms alone. They stole nearly $400 million worth of digital assets, according to Chainanalysis reports. Moreover, the North Korean government has increased its cybercrime activity over the past 5 years to generate more revenue.
Since the beginning of the year 2018, the hacking giant is constantly laundering virtual currencies worth more than $200 million every year. The most prominent hack was done with a net worth of $250 million on KuCoin, a cryptocurrency exchange platform. According to the UN security council, the revenue generated through such hacks is migrated toward North Korea’s WMD and ballistic missile program.
The UN intelligence bureau believes that the proceedings from the Lazarus group are also being used for nuclear weapon programs. In addition, the U.S. government also sanctioned two Chinese citizens Tian Yinyin and Li Jiadong for helping the Lazarus group to perform the hack on cryptocurrency exchanges between the years 2017 and 2019.