The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has pointed at the notorious Lazarus hacker group, with ties to North Korea, as the mastermind behind a $41 million theft from the cryptocurrency-based sports betting platform, Stake.com. The heist, which sent shockwaves through the world of digital currency, unfolded on or around September 4, 2023, according to an official statement released by the FBI on a Wednesday.
A Prolific Cybercrime Network
The Lazarus Group, also known as APT38, has gained notoriety for its involvement in several high-profile international virtual currency heists. The FBI’s investigation into this latest incident has uncovered a disconcerting pattern of cybercriminal activity, linking the DPRK cyber actors to multiple thefts within the cryptocurrency ecosystem.
In 2023 alone, these DPRK actors have absconded over $200 million in ill-gotten digital riches. This alarming figure includes but is not limited to, approximately $60 million of virtual currency swiped from Alphapo and CoinsPaid on or about July 22, 2023, and $100 million of virtual currency looted from Atomic Wallet on or about June 2, 2023. It’s a clear testament to the audacity and prowess of the Lazarus Group in the realm of cybercrime.
A History of Mischief
The Lazarus Group’s malevolent activities have not gone unnoticed by U.S. authorities. The FBI had previously issued warnings and cybersecurity advisories related to the DPRK’s attacks on platforms like Harmony’s Horizon Bridge and Sky Mavis’ Ronin Bridge. Additionally, the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control had sanctioned the Lazarus Group in 2019.
The FBI’s disclosure reminds private sector entities operating in the cryptocurrency sphere to remain vigilant. They are urged to review previous cybersecurity advisories, particularly those concerning TraderTraitor, and scrutinize blockchain data associated with the identified virtual currency addresses. This vigilance is paramount in safeguarding against transactions directly involving or derived from these addresses.
The FBI, steadfast in its commitment to counter the DPRK’s illicit activities, vows to continue exposing and combating cybercrime and virtual currency theft. The agency encourages anyone with information about these activities to contact their local FBI field office or the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center.
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