N.KOREA MAY BE THE HAND BEHIND LAST WEEK THIEF OF $100M CRYPTO: EXPERTS
North Korean hackers are likely to be the target of last week's $ 100 million theft by a US company, with three digital investigating firms in charge.
The cryptoassets were stolen June 23 at Horizon Bridge, a Harmony blockchain service that allows assets to be transferred to other blockchains.
Since then, criminal activities have suggested that they may be in contact with North Korea, which experts say is one of the fastest-growing cybercriminals. UN sanctions observers say Pyongyang uses stolen funds to finance its nuclear programs and missiles.
The style of attack and the high speed of the planned payment of the mix - which is used to hide the source of the money - is similar to the previous attack on North Korea-linked actors, Chainalysis, a blockchain company that works with Harmony to investigate the attack, it said on Twitter on Tuesday.
That conclusion is echoed by other researchers.
"Previously this looks like a North Korean scam based on transactional behavior," said Nick Carlsen, a former FBI analyst now investigating the North Korean cryptocurrency robbery of TRM Labs, a U.S.-based company.
There are strong indications that North Korea's Lazarus Group could be involved in the crime, given the nature of the robbery and the recovery of stolen funds, another company, Elliptic, said in a report on Thursday.
"The thief is trying to trace the original theft," the report said. "This makes it easier to withdraw funds from trading."
If confirmed, the attack will be the eighth such offensive this year - involving $ 1 billion in stolen money - which could be attributed to North Korea with confidence, accounting for 60% of the total money stolen by 2022, Chainalysis said.
North Korea's ability to recover money from its stolen assets may be complicated by the recent decline in cryptocurrency prices, experts and South Korean officials told Reuters, which may threaten a major source of revenue for a country bound by sanctions.