The US links the hacking of the Record Ronin cryptocurrency with North Korean hackers
The US Treasury Department has linked the North Korean hacker group Lazarus with the theft of more than $600 million in cryptocurrency from a software company. This company is also associated with the popular online game Axie Infinity, with which tokens are earned, Bloomberg reports.
The Ministry has added the address of the Ethereum online wallet to its “blacklist”. The stolen cryptocurrency was transferred from Ronin to this wallet through a service called Tornado Cash, which allows anonymous transfers, records show.
The department collaborated with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to identify a wallet whose use could put other cryptocurrency users at risk of US sanctions.
The FBI, in turn, said that during the investigation it was established that the hacker groups Lazarus and APT38, associated with North Korea, were behind the theft. The Bureau added that such crimes bring income to the North Korean regime.
An official of the Ministry of Finance, who requested anonymity, said that secondary sanctions could be imposed against anyone who tries to support the regime of Kim Jong-un through money laundering, counterfeiting of goods or currency, money or drug trafficking. Fines will also be applied to persons cooperating with high-ranking officials in Pyongyang.
Axie Infinity will go down in history, but not in the game
The hacker attack, during which cryptocurrencies were stolen, probably became the largest in history. The Ronin software bridge was created to reduce traffic and costs in the Ethereum blockchain network caused by the popularity of Axie Infinity. However, this technology is being increasingly criticized, since more than $1 billion was stolen from such bridges in just a year.
North Korean hackers have carried out several attacks on cryptocurrency platforms, which last year alone brought them about $400 million in digital assets, according to Chainalysis data. Many of the attacks were carried out by Lazarus, the analytical firm notes.
At the same time, blockchain data shows that 28 thousand Ethers associated with the Ronin attack were transferred to Tornado Cash. According to them, these funds were moved from the main wallet used by hackers to various other wallets. Transactions in the amount of 100 ETH were made from them on Tornado Cash.
In a statement on its website, Ronin said that the Ministry of Finance had imposed sanctions. Axie Sky developer Mavis did not respond to a request for comment.
A representative of the Ministry of Finance indicated that the department is working on the release of a guide on crypto security to help prevent illegal activities of this kind.