US government claims that North Korea is responsible for the $600 million crypto hack

North Korea is responsible for the $600 million crypto hack

The FBI released a statement claiming that North Korea is responsible for the $600 million crypto hack that occurred last month affecting users of the blockchain game Axie Infinity.

Their statement attributed the recent attack on the Ronin network to Lazarus Group and APT38— two groups the US government claims are connected to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

FBI claims North Korea is responsible for the $600 million crypto hack

The FBI continues to combat malicious cyber activity including the threat posed by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to the U.S. and our private sector partners. Through our investigation we were able to confirm Lazarus Group and APT38, cyber actors associated with the DPRK,  are responsible for the theft of $620 million in Ethereum reported on March 29. The FBI, in coordination with Treasury and other U.S. government partners, will continue to expose and combat the DPRK’s use of illicit activities – including cybercrime and cryptocurrency theft – to generate revenue for the regime.

That same day, the US Department of the Treasury updated its list of specially designated nationals under the Office of Foreign Assets Control to connect an Ethereum address to Lazarus Group.

According to Etherscan, the address added to their description is connected to several transactions related to the Ronin Bridge exploit. At the time of writing, the address holds a balance of 134,707.8609 ETH, worth roughly $402 million in fiat.

Lazarus Group is notorious for committing the high-profile hack of KuCoin back in September 2020, which resulted in over $275 million worth of crypto stolen from the popular DeFi network.

However, they’ve also been caught attempting to launder their stolen wealth through Chinese cryptocurrency exchanges, according to the US Department of Justice— which should provide hope to the victims of their latest heist.

Now that it’s been revealed that North Korea is responsible for the $600 million crypto hack, the larger implications of this attack are concerning.

The US Department of the Treasury has previously claimed that Lazarus Group’s hacks are used to fund North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, which is quite possibly the most disturbing use of money indirectly raised from a cutesy Pokemon ripoff with NFTs.

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Michael Valverde is a freelance writer and editor. His favorite video game is Half-Life.

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