North Korea Lazarus Group blamed for $41 million crypto heist

Allegations suggest that such cybercrimes fund North Korea's nuclear weapons program

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has identified North Korea's Lazarus Group as the culprit behind a significant cyber heist targeting the crypto casino and betting platform

This cybercriminal collective, also known as APT38, managed to steal $41m in a variety of cryptocurrencies from

The operation, characterized by its sophistication, reportedly involved the theft of a private key to a hot wallet, as opposed to exploiting vulnerabilities in smart contracts.

The stolen funds were traced across multiple blockchains, including Ethereum, Binance Smart Chain, Polygon, and Bitcoin.

This is not the first time Lazarus Group has made headlines for its cybercrimes. Over the years, they have been linked to hundreds of millions of dollars in stolen cryptocurrencies through attacks on various crypto-related entities, including companies, exchanges, decentralized finance (DeFi) protocols, and blockchain bridges.

The FBI's revelation underscores the ongoing threat posed by state-sponsored hackers, especially those affiliated with North Korea. Earlier this year, GitHub had already issued a warning about North Korean hackers engaging in low-level social engineering campaigns against employees of crypto, blockchain, and gambling-related companies.

It's worth noting that Lazarus Group's illicit activities have far-reaching implications, with US authorities and the United Nations alleging that these cybercrimes fund North Korea's nuclear weapons program.

A UN report published in April suggested that North Korea may have stolen over $1bn worth of cryptocurrency in 2022 through state-backed hackers. 

One of the most significant incidents attributed to the Lazarus Group was last year's hack of the Axie Infinity Ronin Bridge, which resulted in the loss of over $600m worth of cryptocurrencies. Legal proceedings have since been initiated against a developer accused of building a mixer used to launder these stolen funds.

The FBI's assertion that Lazarus Group was responsible for the hack further solidifies their reputation as one of the crypto world's most prolific hacking entities.

Their digital fingerprints have also been tied to other notable heists, including a $100m theft from Atomic Wallet in June and a $60m breach of projects Aplhapo and CoinsPaid in July.

In total, Lazarus Group has been implicated in the theft of more than $2bn in digital assets across multiple incidents.

This group's activities have had a substantial impact on the crypto space, prompting actions such as sanctions against the Tornado Cash coin-mixing protocol, which was accused of aiding money laundering to the tune of $7bn.

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Written by Silvia Pavlof

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