North Korea Behind $100 Million Crypto Theft, Says FBI | Crypto News

California-based Harmony said in June that it had been the target of a cyberattack that stole $100 million worth of digital assets.

North Korean hackers were behind the theft of $100 million worth of digital assets from a US cryptocurrency firm last year, according to US law enforcement.

North Korean hacker groups Lazarus Group and APT38 carried out the cyber heist of cryptocurrency firm Harmony last June, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) said in a statement on Monday.

North Korean cyber actors earlier this month used the Railgun privacy protocol to launder more than $60 million worth of Ethereum stolen during the heist, a portion of which was sent to several virtual asset service providers and converted into Bitcoin, the FBI said.

California-based Harmony announced in June that hackers had stolen $100 million in digital coins from the Horizon Bridge, a so-called blockchain bridge used to move cryptocurrencies between different blockchain networks.

The FBI, which previously issued an alert about a malware campaign used in the heist dubbed “TraderTraitor,” said it had frozen some of the funds with the cooperation of some of the virtual asset service providers.

The FBI said it will continue working to “identify and disrupt” cryptocurrency-stealing and laundering efforts that support the secret state’s illicit nuclear-arms and missile programs.

“The FBI will continue to expose and combat the DPRK’s use of illegal activities, including cybercrime and virtual currency theft, to generate revenue for the regime,” the FBI said, referring to the acronym of the country’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

North Korea, ruled by third-generation dictator Kim Jong Un, has been accused by US and UN officials of orchestrating an escalation of cyber theft to fund its activities, including the development of long-range ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons.

South Korea’s spy agency said in December that North Korean hackers had stolen about 1.5 trillion South Korean won ($1.2 billion) in virtual assets over the past five years, including 800 billion South Korean won ( $650.5 million) in 2022 alone.

Blockchain analyst firm Chainalysis said in a report released in January last year that the value of stolen assets in North Korea-linked cyberattacks grew 40% from 2020 to 2021.

Last month, Google’s anti-hacking unit said North Korean hackers had exploited South Korea’s deadly Halloween crowd to target Internet users with malware planted in documents disguised to look like South Korean government reports.

In 2021, the US Justice Department charged three North Korean computer programmers with extorting or stealing more than $1.3 billion in cash and cryptocurrency in a series of cyber attacks starting in 2014.

North Korea, which typically does not interact with international media, has denied carrying out cyber attacks overseas and accused the United States and its allies of “spreading malicious rumours”.

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