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US Attributes North Korean Lazarus Hackers to Axie Infinity Crypto Theft

Read more to know about the massive crypto theft.

 

The US Treasury Department announced on Thursday that it had linked North Korean hackers to the heist of hundreds of millions of dollars in cryptocurrencies linked to the popular online game Axie Infinity. 

On March 23, digital cash worth about $615 million was stolen, according to Ronin, a blockchain network that enables users to transfer crypto in and out of the game. No one has claimed responsibility for the hack, but the US Treasury announced on Thursday that a digital currency address used by the hackers was under the control of a North Korean hacking group known as "Lazarus." 

The Treasury Department spokesperson stated, using the initials of North Korea’s official name, “The United States is aware that the DPRK has increasingly relied on illicit activities — including cybercrime — to generate revenue for its weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs as it tries to evade robust U.S. and U.N. sanctions.” 

The wallet's users risk being sanctioned by the US, according to the representative. Chainalysis and Elliptic, two blockchain analytics companies, said the designation validated North Korea was behind the break-in. Sky Mavis co-founder Aleksander Larsen, who develops Axie Infinity, declined to comment. Sky Mavis engaged CrowdStrike to investigate the incident, but the firm declined to comment. 

The FBI has ascribed the attack to the Lazarus Group, according to a post on the official Ronin blog, and the US Treasury Department has sanctioned the address that received the stolen money. The Reconnaissance General Bureau, North Korea's primary intelligence bureau, is said to be in charge of the Lazarus hacking squad, according to the US. It has been accused of being involved in the "WannaCry" ransomware attacks, as well as hacking multinational banks and customer accounts and the Sony Pictures Entertainment hacks in 2014. 

Cryptocurrency systems have long been afflicted by hacks. The Ronin hack was one of the most massive cryptocurrency thefts ever. Sky Mavis stated it will refund the money lost using a combination of its own balance sheet capital and $150 million raised from investors including Binance. 

The Ronin blog stated, “We are still in the process of adding additional security measures before redeploying the Ronin Bridge to mitigate future risk. Expect the bridge to be deployed by end of month.” 

According to a Treasury spokesperson, the US will consider publishing crypto cybersecurity guidelines to help in the fight against the stolen virtual currency.
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