North Korean hackers blamed for risky $100million crypto heist – and they've not been caught | The Sun
A MASSIVE cryptocurrency heist has been attributed to North Korean hackers trying to finance a missile program.
Multiple blockchain forensics companies have expressed the belief that North Korea was behind the theft.
$100million in crypto-assets were stolen and partially laundered through a "mixer" which blurs the tokens' transaction history.
The target of the attack was Harmony's Horizon Bridge, a digital portal for transferring crypto to and from different blockchains.
“Preliminarily this looks like a North Korean hack based on transaction behaviour,” a former FBI-analyst told The Guardian.
Harmony offered the hackers ten million dollars and a promise not to lean into charges if the funds were returned – so far, the hackers have not taken up on the offer.
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A report linked the heist to North Korea's state-backed hacking collective, the Lazarus Group.
"The theft was perpetrated by compromising the cryptographic keys of a multi-signature wallet…Such techniques have frequently been used by the Lazarus Group," Elliptic, a blockchain analysis firm, writes.
The same strategy was used to steal $600million in crypto assets from the treasury of a play-to-earn game.
The New York Times reported that sanctions and the pandemic have created even more volatile economic conditions in North Korea – the regime views crypto-theft as a viable way to raise funds for military projects.
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Coincub reported that North Korea has raised "an army of approximately 7,000 hackers" to steal crypto assets on behalf of the state.
Their conservative estimate of North Korea's total yield from cryptocurrency heists is $1.6billion.
"For North Korea, it’s a low-cost, low-risk but high-return criminal enterprise,” an anti-terrorism expert told The Times.
North Korea has launched 18 rounds of missile tests this year and KimJong-un said he would "take steps to strengthen and develop our nation's nuclear capabilities at the fastest pace" at a military parade.
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Crypto markets have been on a massive downswing in 2022, diminishing the value of both legitimate and stolen coins.
The lower crypto prices go, the less North Korea will get out of their hacks.
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