The North Korean hacking groups Lazarus Group and APT38 were responsible for the theft of $100 million in digital assets from the US crypto firm Harmony, according to US law enforcement. The million-dollar heist occurred in the middle of 2022.
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, North Korean actors used Railgun, a privacy protocol, earlier this year to launder more than $60 million in Ethereum stolen during the June 2022 heist. The Federal Bureau of Investigation also stated that a portion of the stolen assets from the heist were sent to several virtual asset service providers and converted to Bitcoin.
Harmony, an Ethereum-based blockchain, is the victim of the aforementioned heist. Back in 2022, the said blockchain announced that a hundred million dollars in digital coins had been stolen from Horizon bridge, a blockchain bridge used to move cryptocurrencies between different blockchain networks.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation issued an advisory stating that the malware used in the heist was dubbed “TraderTraitor,” and that they were able to freeze some of the funds with the cooperation of some of the virtual asset service providers.
The law enforcement agency then claimed that they were working to “identify and disrupt” attempts to steal and launder cryptocurrency to fund the secretive state’s illicit missile and nuclear weapons programs. The Federal Bureau of Investigation also stated that they will continue to expose and combat alleged illicit activities carried out by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea in order to generate revenue for the regime.
Kim Jong Un, North Korea’s third-generation dictator, has been accused by US and UN officials of orchestrating an escalating campaign of cyber theft to fund its activities. This is said to include the development of long-range ballistic missiles as well as nuclear weapons.
According to a South Korean spy agency, North Korean hackers stole approximately 1.5 trillion South Korean won in virtual assets over the last five years. According to Chainalysis’ January 2022 report, the value of assets stolen in North Korea-linked cyberattacks increased by 40% between 2020 and 2021.