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  • Writer's pictureMichael Paulyn

North Korea's Lazarus Group Makes Off with Over $540 Million from Online Crypto Game

Updated: Oct 21, 2023

The United States Treasury Department recently announced that the North Korean cyber group Lazarus Group, which goes by Hidden Cobra, stealthily made off with $540 million in one of the biggest crypto heists. The target was Axie Infinity, a popular online crypto game.

The group used an Ethereum wallet tied to an address previously used to steal other digital assets. The US Office of Foreign Asset Control's (OFAC) Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) List imposed sanctions and restricted any further potentially transferred funds.

The official government announcement states that "the FBI, in coordination with Treasury and other US government partners, will continue to expose and combat the DPRK's use of illicit activities – including cybercrime and cryptocurrency theft – to generate revenue for the regime."

This incident was the second-largest recorded heist cyber theft as of March 23, 2022, with over 173,600 Ether (ETH) and 25.5 million USD Coins in the siphoned-off loot. This successful theft mainly occurred because the cyberattack used fake withdrawals and private keys.

In the first three months of 2022 alone, over $1.3 billion was taken by malicious groups. In 2021, over $3.2 billion in crypto tokens were hauled off, indicating that crypto heists are becoming more and more lucrative.

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