North Korea is behind a $100 million cryptocurrency heist, according to the FBI

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

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

North Korean hacking groups Lazarus Group and APT38 carried out a cyber heist on cryptocurrency firm Harmony last June, the 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 in Ethereum stolen during the heist, part of which was sent to various virtual asset service providers and converted into Bitcoin, the FBI said.

Harmony, headquartered in California, announced in June that hackers had stolen $100 million in cryptocurrency from the Horizon Bridge, the so-called blockchain bridge used to transfer cryptocurrencies between different blockchain networks.

The FBI, which previously issued an advisory about the robbery malware campaign dubbed “TraderTraitor,” said it has frozen some funds in cooperation with some virtual asset service providers.

The FBI said it will continue to work to “identify and disrupt” efforts to steal and launder cryptocurrency that underpins the secretive state’s illicit missile and nuclear weapons programs.

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

North Korea, which is ruled by third-generation dictator Kim Jong Un, has been accused by US and UN officials of orchestrating an escalating campaign 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 have stolen an estimated 1.5 trillion South Korean won ($1.2 billion) of virtual assets over the past five years, including 800 billion South Korean won ($650.5 million). In 2022 alone.

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

Last month, Google’s anti-piracy unit said North Korean hackers took advantage of the deadly Halloween crowds in South Korea to target netizens with malware planted in documents disguised to look like reports from the South Korean government.

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

North Korea, which does not usually interact with international media, has denied carrying out cyberattacks abroad and accused the United States and its allies of “spreading bad-hearted rumours”.

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