FBI accuses North Korean government hackers of stealing $100M in Harmony bridge theft

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The FBI accused two teams of North Korean government hackers of finishing up last year’s heist of $100 million in crypto stolen from an organization that enables users to switch cryptocurrency from one blockchain to a different.

On Monday, the FBI announced that the Lazarus Group and APT38 — two teams linked to the North Korean government by each cybersecurity firms and government businesses — had been chargeable for the hack against the Horizon bridge, created by the U.S. firm Harmony, in June 2022.

Citing cybersecurity consultants, Reuters reported last year that North Korea was more likely to be the perpetrator of the hack, which exploited a vulnerability in the bridge to steal numerous cryptocurrency belongings, corresponding to Ethereum, Binance Coin, Tether, USD Coin, and Dai.

The FBI said that on January 13, the North Korean hackers used RAILGUN, a crypto “privacy protocol” to launder $60 million in Ethereum stolen from Harmony.

“A portion of this stolen ethereum was subsequently sent to several virtual asset service providers and converted to bitcoin (BTC),” the FBI said in its announcement. “A portion of these funds were frozen, in coordination with some of the virtual asset service providers.”

The FBI also printed eleven cryptocurrency wallets the place the remaining $40 million in stolen bitcoin had been moved to.

North Korea has a long historical past of concentrating on cryptocurrency firms to lift cash for the regime, which sees crypto as a way to evade worldwide sanctions and to fund its nuclear weapons program. Last year, the FBI, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), and the U.S. Treasury Department printed an advisory detailing North Korea’s actions concentrating on crypto firms.

According to South Korea’s National Intelligence Service, North Korea has stolen round $1.2 billion price of crypto in the last 5 years, together with $626 million in 2022 alone.

Harmony’s Horizon is a so-called blockchain bridge — also referred to as cross-chain bridges, a instrument that enables users to switch digital belongings from one blockchain to a different, permitting totally different blockchains created by totally different firms to be interoperable. Several of those bridges have had severe vulnerabilities, making them a favourite goal for hackers.

“Blockchain bridges have become the low-hanging fruit for cyber-criminals, with billions of dollars worth of crypto assets locked within them,” Tom Robinson, co-founder and chief scientist at blockchain analytics agency Elliptic told CNBC last year. “These bridges have been breached by hackers in a variety of ways, suggesting that their level of security has not kept pace with the value of assets that they hold.”

Chainalysis, one other blockchain analytics agency, estimated that round $1.4 billion had been stolen from blockchain bridges last year.

Hacker exploits Harmony blockchain bridge, loots $100M in crypto

FBI accuses North Korean government hackers of stealing $100M in Harmony bridge theft by Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai initially printed on TechCrunch


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