North Korean Hackers Behind $100M Harmony Cryptocurrency Heist


North Korean hackers are most likely behind an attack last week that stole up to $100 million in cryptocurrency from a US company, three digital investigative firms have found.

The cryptoassets were stolen on June 23 by Horizon Bridge, a service powered by the Harmony blockchain that allows assets to be transferred to other blockchains.

Since then, the hackers’ activities have suggested that they may be linked to North Korea, which experts say is among the most prolific cyber attackers. UN sanctions monitors say Pyongyang is using the stolen funds to support its nuclear and missile programs.

The attack style and high speed of structured payments to a mixer — used to obfuscate the origin of funds — are similar to previous attacks attributed to actors with ties to North Korea, according to Chainalysis, a blockchain firm working with Harmony to investigate this attack.

This conclusion was echoed by other investigators.

“For now, this looks like a North Korean hack based on transaction behavior,” said Nick Carlsen, a former FBI analyst who now investigates North Korea’s cryptocurrency heists for TRM Labs, a US-based firm.

There is strong evidence that North Korea’s Lazarus group could be responsible for this theft based on the nature of the hack and subsequent laundering of the stolen funds, said another investigative firm, Elliptic.

“The thief is attempting to break the transaction trail back to the original theft,” the report said. “This makes it easier to withdraw funds on an exchange.”

If confirmed, the attack would be the eighth exploit this year – $1bn in total. North Korean Hackers Behind $100M Harmony Cryptocurrency Heist

Fry Electronics Team

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