The US has blamed North Korean hackers for stealing $615 million worth of virtual currency from gamers of the online game, Axie Infinity. Through this game, a player can earn crypto through gameplay or trading of avatars.
It is one of the biggest crypto theft incidents ever happening in the crypto world.
The attack was linked to a group known as “Lazarus,” which is said to be controlled by North Korea’s primary intelligence agency, according to US officials.
In 2014, the Lazarus Group became infamous for hacking into Sony Pictures and distributing confidential data.
The group of hackers also demanded Sony remove its then-upcoming film, The Interview. The movie was a satirical comedy regarding a plot to execute North Korean head, Kim Jong-un.
North Korea has been accused of using stolen funds to support its nuclear and ballistic missile programs as a method to avoid international pressure, according to a United Nations monitoring group.
The United States is aware that the North Korean government has increasingly turned to illicit methods, such as cybercrime, to generate revenue for its weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs while attempting to bypass strong US and UN sanctions.
According to a US military study from 2020, North Korea’s hacking operation dates back at least to the mid-nineties and has blossomed into a 6,000-person cyber warfare unit dubbed Bureau 121 that operates from several nations including Belarus, China, India, Malaysia, and Russia.
According to Chainalysis, North Korean hackers stole around $400 million worth of digital assets in at least seven assaults on cryptocurrency platforms throughout the year 2021, which was one of the most successful years for cyber-criminals in the closed-off East Asian country.