FBI’s Crackdown on 6 BTC Wallets Linked To North Korean Cybercrime Group

FBI’s Crackdown on 6 BTC Wallets Linked To North Korean Cybercrime Group

Key Insights:

  • FBI flags six BTC wallets linked to the North Korean state-backed hacking group Lazarus
  • The six wallets contain 1,580 BTC worth $40 million

The United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has cracked down on six BTC wallets linked to a North Korean state-backed cybercrime group. In a press release yesterday, the FBI detailed that it had tracked crypto formerly stolen by the Lazarus group, also referred to as TraderTraitor-affiliated actors and APT38.

This joins a long list of crypto thefts that federal authorities have been battling for a while now. Here, we shall deeply dive into what happened, what caused it, and what the aftermath could be.

FBI cracks down on North Korean group
FBI cracks down on North Korean group

FBI Identifies Stolen Crypto Funds

After an investigation, the FBI flagged six wallets containing an estimated 1,580 BTC from various crypto heists by the Lazarus group. The funds worth more than $40 million are presently sitting in these Bitcoin addresses:

  • 3LU8wRu4ZnXP4UM8Yo6kkTiGHM9BubgyiG
  • 39idqitN9tYNmq3wYanwg3MitFB5TZCjWu
  • 3AAUBbKJorvNhEUFhKnep9YTwmZECxE4Nk
  • 3PjNaSeP8GzLjGeu51JR19Q2Lu8W2Te9oc
  • 3NbdrezMzAVVfXv5MTQJn4hWqKhYCTCJoB
  • 34VXKa5upLWVYMXmgid6bFM4BaQXHxSUoL
Cybercrime in North Korea
Cybercrime in North Korea

The FBI opined that the Lazarus Group may try to sell the crypto due to their movement of funds. Consequently, they warned crypto firms to be on guard for the six BTC wallets and utilize blockchain data to monitor any activity of funds.

"Private sector entities should examine the blockchain data associated with these addresses and be vigilant in guarding against transactions directly with, or derived from, the addresses."

In addition, they vowed to continue to combat the group's use of cybercrime and theft to generate funds for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK). They also encouraged the public to assist with any helpful info by contacting them.

This isn't the first time the Lazarus Group has made the news, as it has been linked to many crypto thefts. The group has allegedly stolen almost $2 billion in crypto since 2018.

Let's delve more into the Lazarus Group and highlight what thefts they have been involved in.

The Lazarus Group

The Lazarus Group, also called "Guardians of Peace" amongst other names, is a cybercrime group that comprises an unknown number of people sponsored by the North Korean government. 

Since 2009, many cyberattacks have been attributed to the group to the point that it has been described as an advanced persistent threat. Next, we shall summarize the attacks they've wrecked on the ecosystem.

The 2000s

The group's first major cyber attack happened in 2009. It was called "Operation Troy" and used malware to attack the U.S. and South Korean websites.

The 2010s

Between 2011-2013, the group targeted South Korean media and financial infrastructure. In 2014, Sony Pictures was hacked, with large amounts of unreleased films, scripts, and personal info of 4,000 employees being stolen and divulged almost immediately. In 2016, the Lazarus Group perpetrated a Bangladesh bank cyber heist, with nearly $200 million stolen from the intended $1 billion. Crypto attacks became part of their repertoire, with BTC users and crypto exchange being attacked in South Korea.

The 2020s

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, pharmaceutical companies became fodder for the Lazarus Group as they used spear-phishing techniques to attack the employees, most of whom were involved in the vaccine research. In 2021, the group was accused by Google and Microsoft of targeting their researchers. In 2022, the FBI confirmed that the group was behind the theft of $100 million in virtual currency from Harmony's Horizon Bridge.

Lazarus Group
Lazarus Group

What's Next For Crypto Firms?

The Lazarus Group has wrecked so much havoc on many industries, individuals, and companies. With the FBI's latest update, it doesn't seem likely that they would slow down any time soon.

Furthermore, crypto thefts have increased due to improvements in the tools and techniques of hackers. Yet, it is difficult for cybercriminals to launder their illegal funds due to the public ledger that enables one to monitor the movement of funds.

With crypto firms and law enforcement agencies working hand-in-hand to forestall more of these thefts from happening, cyber crimes have their work cut out for them.

Disclaimer: Voice of Crypto aims to deliver accurate and up-to-date information but will not be responsible for any missing facts or inaccurate information. Cryptocurrencies are highly volatile financial assets, so research and make your own financial decisions.

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