It’s been over half a year since the Harmony bridge was breached, allowing hackers believed to be a part of the Lazarus Group to make off with about $100 million in cryptocurrencies at the time they were stolen.
Multiple Cashout Attempts
Nearly $91 million of those funds have seen attempted cashouts so far. The most recent attempt at laundering the stolen funds saw about $27 million worth of crypto being moved. The operation was detected by security researchers, although it is unclear how much of the identified amount – if any – was seized.
However, exchanges are doing what they can to prevent the flow of illicit funds, despite the resurrection of Blender, a sanctioned crypto mixer now allegedly brought back as “Sinbad.”
About a month ago, Elliptic, Huobi, and Binance first coordinated to freeze 121 BTC, worth $2.5 million at the time. Apparently, the collaboration has continued, allowing a further $1.4 million in cryptocurrencies to be frozen on the 14th of February.
Exchanges @binance and @HuobiGlobal today frozen accounts containing $1.4 million stolen by North Korea’s Lazarus Group. This was made possible thanks to intel from Elliptic’s real-time investigations tools and a swift response by the receiving exchanges.https://t.co/f5bVpm8yfH
— elliptic (@elliptic) February 14, 2023
However, the exact cryptocurrencies were not mentioned, only the dollar value.
Elliptic, a blockchain-focused AML and Compliance service provider, forwarded info on stolen cryptocurrency that had been tracked to accounts on the two trading platforms. The security teams at the two exchanges then quickly froze the funds.
According to Simone Maini, the CEO of Elliptic, it is the duty of companies across the blockchain sphere to do everything in their power to keep crypto from becoming a safe haven for cybercriminals.
“Today, money laundering was detected and stolen funds linked to North Korea were frozen, in real time. As an industry, we have the power and responsibility to prevent digital assets from becoming a haven for money launderers and sanctions evaders, and ensure that they are a force for good.”
Elliptic’s investigation tracked the funds across 58 blockchain wallets, once again proving that not even crypto mixers can throw off companies and government regulators with enough determination and know-how. The funds had remained dormant until a few days ago when unusual activity tipped off the investigators at Elliptic.
With any luck, the millions laundered earlier this month and discovered by security researcher ZachXBT were also frozen – however, no information has been proffered on the matter by crypto exchanges, whether due to cybersecurity concerns or due to the information simply being discovered too late.
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