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North Korean Cybercriminals Allegedly Behind Cryptocurrency Breach

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North Korean Cybercriminals Allegedly Behind Cryptocurrency Breach

The Axie Infinity hack is attributed to North Korean hackers, according to the FBI.

In late March, Axie Infinity, an online game that enables players to earn and store cryptocurrency and NFTs, experienced a significant cyber breach resulting in a loss of around $600 million in digital assets. The breach was executed through a custom network that allowed users to transfer cryptocurrency across different blockchains, which was covertly inserted by an unknown hacking group at the time.

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The FBI has identified Lazarus Group, a hacker collective believed to have direct ties to the North Korean government, as the main suspects in this attack. The FBI stated, “Through our investigation, we have confirmed that the theft of $620 million in Ethereum reported on March 29th was carried out by Lazarus Group and APT38, cybercriminals linked to the DPRK.”

Subsequently, the US Treasury Department imposed sanctions on the specific cryptocurrency wallet used by Lazarus Group to receive the stolen funds. Reports from cryptocurrency crime investigators suggest that Lazarus Group has successfully pilfered approximately $1.75 billion in various cryptocurrencies over recent years. National security experts suspect that some or all of these funds may have been channeled to the North Korean government to support the development of nuclear weapons.

“A cyber breach in a cryptocurrency enterprise, unlike a traditional retailer, is akin to a rapid online bank heist that finances North Korea’s destabilizing actions and weapons projects,” stated Ari Redbord, legal affairs executive at TRM Labs, a financial crime monitoring firm. “As long as these activities remain profitable, they are unlikely to cease.”

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