The United States Department of Justice is working towards taking hold of 280 crypto accounts said to have been used by North Korean Hackers.
Reportedly, the North Korean hackers stole millions of dollars in digital assets from two crypto exchange firms. Also, the hackers reportedly used Chinese traders to launder their funds and were charged by the US officers for laundering over $100 million for the North Korea Pyongyang’s way of circumventing sanctions.
In a statement issued by Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian Rabbitt, he said that the document reveals the existing connections between North Korea’s cyber-hacking program and a Chinese cryptocurrency money laundering network.
United State DoJ also filed a civil forfeiture complaint against Noth Korea as part of broader effort to stop what it called state-sponsored cyberattacks on currency exchanges by hackers.
In the complaint, they detailed two specific attacks against virtual currency exchanges in 2019 suspected to have been carried out by North Korean hackers. The justice department also claimed that the actors in China played a role and laundered over $250 million that was stolen from over 12 exchange firms.
When did the North Korean hackers operate?
According to the DoJ, the hacks they claimed occurred in their complaint were in July and September 2019, respectively.
Around $272,000 worth of crypto was stolen reportedly which was laundered through several intermediary addresses and other virtual currency exchanges investigators said.
“In many instances, the actor converted the cryptocurrency into BTC (bitcoin), Tether or other forms of cryptocurrency–a process known as ‘chain hopping’–in order to obfuscate the transaction path.
The justice department in another attack said a North Korea-associated hacker gained access to an anonymous virtual currency wallet. In this attack, the hacker stole around $2.5 million and laundered it through more than 100 virtual currency exchange firms, they claimed.
US vs. North Korean APT groups
Last year, the US government sanctioned North Korean APT groups and Lazarus group also known for the high-profile WannaCry ransomware attack and cyberattacks on Sony Pictures Entertainment.
After the sanction, no U.S entity could deal with Lazarus and two of its alleged sub-groups, Bluenoroff and Andariel as they are believed to be owned by the Reconnaissance General Bureau (RGB), North Korea’s primary intelligence bureau.