Lazarus Tied to Axie Infinity Crypto Theft in March2 min readReading Time: 2 minutes
Not long ago, Live Bitcoin News put out an article discussing the hacking of gaming network Axie Infinity, which ultimately resulted in more than $600 million in digital currency funds being stolen overnight. The incident is easily one to mar the crypto books and one of the biggest digital currency heists in history.
Axie Infinity Was Allegedly Hit by Lazarus
Since then, additional details have come about linking the incident to Lazarus, a notorious hacking group allegedly stationed in North Korea. The country has been working hard over the past several years to steal cryptocurrency from all over the world as a means of funding its nuclear arms program. Thus far, Lazarus has been connected to ransomware and other illicit activities in the United States, South Korea, and many other regions.
Axie Infinity is an online gaming platform based on the use of non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Players who engage in the game’s tasks and accomplish certain feats can earn a specific in-game token that is linked to the Ethereum network. At press time, it is believed that as much as $620 million in crypto funds have been stolen from the game’s many players.
The hackers ultimately made off with the funds after targeting what’s called the Ronin Network, which is a system that allows Axie players to transfer crypto in and out of the game. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) says that through the process of elimination in its investigation, the organization has managed to confirm that members of Lazarus were likely responsible for the attack.
In a statement, the FBI explained:
The FBI continues to combat malicious cyber activity, including the threat posed by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to the U.S. and our private sector partners. Through our investigation we were able to confirm Lazarus Group and APT38, cyber actors associated with the DPRK, are responsible for the theft of $620 million in Ethereum reported on March 29. The FBI, in coordination with the Treasury and other U.S. government partners, will continue to expose and combat the DPRK’s use of illicit activities – including cybercrime and cryptocurrency theft – to generate revenue for the regime.
So Many Incidents in the Past
At the time of writing, the wallet that was linked to the hack has been added to the agency’s sanctions list, though there has been much talk that countries like North Korea and Russia – which is also being watched carefully by the U.S. – will try to use crypto to bypass sanctions and free themselves from the global financial system.
Lazarus has been involved in several hacking incidents over the years. The group has been linked to 2017’s WannaCry ransomware attack along with the hacking of Sony Pictures in the year 2014, a time when the comedy film “The Interview” about an assassination plot to take out Kim Jong Un was set to debut in theaters.
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