North Korean hackers were linked to a multi-million dollar cryptocurrency crime last month that targeted users of the popular Axie Infinity game, according to the US.
The theft of Blockchain project Ronin in March was one of the most significant in the crypto world, raising serious concerns about security in a sector that has only lately gained traction thanks to celebrity endorsements and promises of unlimited fortune.
Users are permitted by the Ronin network to move crypto in and out of the game.
The FBI added in a statement that “through our investigations we were able to confirm Lazarus Group and APT38, cyber actors associated with [North Korea], are responsible for the theft.”
In 2014, Lazarus was suspected of hacking into Sony Pictures Entertainment in retaliation for the satirical film “The Interview,” which insulted North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
Furthermore, it has also been suspected of hacking foreign banks and consumer accounts, as well as the “WannaCry” ransomware assaults.
Using the initials of North Korea’s official name, a Treasury Department representative stated, “the United States is aware that the DPRK has increasingly relied on illicit activities – including cybercrime – to generate revenue for its weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs as it tries to evade robust US and UN sanctions.”
According to a 2020 US military study, North Korea’s hacking operation dates back to at least the mid-1990s and has evolved to a 6,000-strong cyber warfare squad known as Bureau 121 that works from numerous countries, including Belarus, China, India, Malaysia, and Russia.
Attackers took advantage of weaknesses in the game’s structure, which was put in place by Sky Mavis, a Vietnamese firm, In the case of the Axie Infinity heist.
The firm needed to tackle a problem: the Ethereum blockchain, which records ether cryptocurrency transactions, is sluggish and expensive to operate.
Axie Infinity designed an in-game currency and a sidechain with a bridge to the main Ethereum blockchain to allow users to buy and sell quickly.
As a result, the process was quicker and less expensive, but it was less secure in the long run.
The hack on its blockchain netted 173,600 ether and $25.5 million in stablecoin, a digital currency tethered to the US dollar.
SOURCE: NEWS AGENCIES