TThe U.S. Treasury Department linked Lazarus, a North Korean hacking organization to the theft more than $600,000,000 in cryptocurrency from the software bridge that was used for Axie Infinity’s popular play-to-earn games.
A Thursday sanction list was added by the department to include an Ethereum wallet address that is linked to this group. Data show that more than $86million of the cryptocurrency stolen from Ronin bridge was transferred from its wallet to Tornado Cash, which allows anonymous token transfers.
A spokesperson said that the Treasury worked alongside the FBI in finding the wallet. This could have consequences for other virtual currency users, who are at risk from U.S. sanction.
In a statement, the FBI stated that it had concluded that hacking groups Lazarus Group (also associated with North Korea) were responsible for the theft. These crimes are revenue-generating for the North Korean regime, according to the FBI.
On condition of anonymity, a Treasury spokesperson stated that anyone who supports Kim Jong Un’s regime by money laundering, counterfeit goods, currency, bulk cash-smuggling and narcotics trading could face secondary sanctions. Anyone who tries to aid any government official would face the same penalty.
This hack is likely to be the biggest ever recorded in cryptocurrency. This software bridge was designed to decrease traffic and costs on Ethereum’s blockchain due to the rise in popularity of Axie Infinity (a Vietnamese developer). After more than $1B worth of cryptocurrency was stolen from crypto bridges in less than one year, the bridging technology came under scrutiny.
A Chainalysis report states that cybercriminals in North Korea targeted several crypto platforms and stole nearly $400 Million worth of digital assets. According to the research firm, many of the attacks were committed by Lazarus Group.
According to blockchain data, 28,000 Ether linked with Ronin bridge hack have been transferred to Tornado Cash.
The data shows that the funds were transferred from the hacker’s main wallet to various wallets. Tornado Cash was the beneficiary of a number of batches of transactions that were 100 Ether.
Ronin pointed out on its site that Lazarus Group had been attributed to the breach by FBI and Treasury has approved the address. Sky Mavis representatives didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
According to the Treasury spokesperson, they are looking into crypto cybersecurity guidelines that will help protect against illicit activities.
—Assistance from Olga Kharif
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