DoJ wants North Korea’s funds held in 280 BTC and ETH accountsSecurity Affairs

DoJ wants North Korea’s funds held in 280 BTC and ETH accountsSecurity Affairs


US DoJ filed a civil forfeiture grievance to grab 280 Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) accounts containing funds allegedly stolen by North Korea-linked hackers

The US DoJ has filed a civil forfeiture grievance with the intent to grab management over 280 Bitcoin and Ethereum accounts which can be believed to be holding funds that are the proceeds of hacking campaigns performed by North Korea-linked APT teams towards two cryptocurrency exchanges.

The grievance didn’t title the hacked exchanges, it solely studies two assaults that befell in July 1, 2019, and September 25, 2019.

The DoJ reveals that the funds stolen within the two hacks, together with $250 million stolen from one other alternate in 2018, had been all laundered by the identical Chinese language Over-The-Counter (OTC) merchants.

The primary assault carried out by North Korean hackers resulted within the theft of $272,000 price of different cryptocurrencies and tokens, together with Proton Tokens, PlayGame tokens, and IHT Actual Property Protocol tokens. Within the second assault, menace actors stole $2.5 million price of a number of digital currencies.

North Korean hackers used “chain hopping” to launder the stolen funds, because of this they’ve used the stolen funds to purchase different cryptocurrencies, for instance, changing Stellar to Ethereum.

“Over the following months, the funds had been laundered by a number of middleman addresses and different digital forex exchanges.  In lots of situations, the actor transformed the cryptocurrency into BTC, Tether, or different types of cryptocurrency – a course of often called “chain hopping” – with a view to obfuscate the transaction path.” reads the press launch printed by DoJ. “As detailed within the pleadings, regulation enforcement was nonetheless in a position to hint the funds, regardless of the delicate laundering strategies used.”

The evaluation of the blockchain allowed the US officers to observe the stolen funds from two hacked alternate again to the 280 crypto-currency accounts.

Many of those 280 addresses are presently frozen on account of the investigation performed instantly after the hacks.

“Immediately’s grievance demonstrates that North Korean actors can not conceal their crimes inside the anonymity of the web.  Worldwide cryptocurrency laundering schemes undermine the integrity of our monetary methods at a world stage, and we’ll use each device in our arsenal to analyze and disrupt these crimes,” mentioned Particular Agent in Cost Emmerson Buie Jr. of the FBI’s Chicago Area Workplace.  “The FBI will proceed to impose dangers and penalties on criminals who search to undermine our nationwide safety pursuits.”

In September 2019, the US Treasury put sanctions on three North Korea-linked hacking teams, the Lazarus Group, Bluenoroff, and Andarial.

The teams are behind a number of hacking operations that resulted within the theft of lots of of hundreds of thousands of {dollars} from monetary establishments and cryptocurrency exchanges worldwide and harmful cyber-attacks on infrastructure. Lazarus Group can also be thought of the menace actors behind the 2018 large WannaCry assault.

In response to the Treasury, the three teams “doubtless” stole $571 million in cryptocurrency from 5 Asian exchanges in 2017 and 2018.

Intelligence analysts imagine the teams are beneath the management of the Reconnaissance Common Bureau, which is North Korea’s main intelligence bureau.

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – hacking, North Korea)



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