North Korean Hackers Cryptocurrency Heist
State sponsored hackers tied to the Kim Jong-Un regime are allegedly responsible for most of the consecutive multi-million cryptocurrency heists that have amounted to over $1 Billion.
Less than five days ago, the so-called “blockchain bridge”, Horizon, developed by U.S. crypto start-up Horizon, was the centerpiece of a heist that resulted in a $100 million cryptocurrency hack. According to blockchain analysts, state-sponsored North Korean hackers are most likely to be the culprits in the devastating hack.
Among these researchers was the blockchain analytics firm, Elliptic, which vehemently supported the attack being perpetrated by the Lazarus Groups, a hacker ring with direct ties to Pyongyang. In their blogpost that Wednesday, they claimed “strong indications” were found, pointing to this nefarious collective.
Furthermore, Elliptic stated that the majority of the funds were immediately converted to the Ether cryptocurrency, suggesting that they have already begun laundering the stolen assets through a “mixing” service called Tornado Cash. Such services seek to obscure the trail of funds, and so far; roughly $39 million in ether has been sent to Tornado Cash.
Hackers Mixes Stolen Crypto
Elliptic claims to have used “demixing” technology to track the stolen cryptocurrency and found funds mixed through Tornado Cash in several new Ether wallets. Another blockchain security firm, Chainalysis, further confirmed the findings.
Allegedly, how the attack was executed, followed by subsequent laundering attempts bears striking resemblance to previous crypto thefts thought to have been carried out by the prolific North Korean hackers.
Lazarus has also been accused of hacking a previous “cross-chain” bridge similar to Horizon, Ronin. The US Treasury Department attributed a $600 million heist on Ronin Network, a so-called “sidechain” for popular crypto game Axie Infinity, to Lazarus earlier this year.
In the Ronin hack and several others; the group supposedly capitalized on compromising passwords for “multisig” wallets, which only require a few signatures to initiate transactions. In both cases, transfers of funds were completed in “programmatic” increments every few minutes. During the Asia-Pacific nighttime hours, the movement of funds ceased.
Stolen Crypto $1 Million Reward
As of now, the start-up has announced that it is working to reimburse users as they investigate the theft, and additional time will be required. The company has also offered a $1 million reward for the return of the stolen cryptocurrency and any information about the hack to further their work.
The Horizon, Ronin hack, and even the 2014 data breach aimed at Sony Pictures are not the first accusations against North Korea, which use cryptocurrency to circumvent Western sanctions. However, the Asian nation continues to deny any involvement in state-sponsored cyber attacks.