Lazarus, a group of hackers believed to be closely linked to North Korea, is suspected of having stolen virtual money worth 100 million dollars or 130 billion won, reported British blockchain forensics company Elliptic Enterprises on Wednesday (local time), adding that blockchain tech firm Harmony fell victim to a theft of approximately 100 million dollars’ cryptocurrency last Friday, for which Lazarus is the most likely suspect.The hacking group stole cryptocurrency transfer technologies from Harmony that provides technological assistance in blockchain used to transact Ethereum, one of the most well-known virtual currencies, according to Elliptic Enterprises. These technologies in the hackers’ hands enable them to convert stolen digital money into Ethereum, 39 million dollars of which has already been sent to “cryptocurrency tumblers” to make it hard to track down on transactions for the sake of money laundering.
It has been found that the suspects targeted personal information of employees at Harmony working in the Asian region such as their names and passwords on their initial attempts to breach the victim’s system and transferred the stolen money in the nighttime in Asia. This security incident is in the long line of North Korea’s continued hacking attempts to garner U.S. dollars even while Washington and Seoul discuss new sanctions to cut off North Korea’s financial resources for nuclear and missile development programs.
The Lazarus Group, known to link to North Korea’s Reconnaissance General Bureau, has been in charge of illegally earning foreign currencies by hacking into cryptocurrency systems across the world. When blockchain-based video gaming developer Axie Infinity lost 625 million dollars’ virtual currency this March, the U.S. Department of the Treasury alleged that Lazarus hackers were the main culprit behind the digital theft, which led to a series of sanctions on associated organizations and their crypto wallets.