FBI Says North Korea Responsible for 100M Harmony Protocol Crypto

FBI Says North Korea Responsible for $100M Harmony Protocol Crypto Hack

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The FBI says cybercriminals linked to the North Korean regime are responsible for an attack on a US-based crypto project Harmony Protocol that resulted in a loss of over $100 million last year.

On Monday, the FBI released a brief statement saying it had recently completed an investigation confirming that known North Korean hacker group “Lazarus” was responsible for the hack. The hack involved targeting a crypto “bridge” — a type of mechanism for transferring digital assets that have become common targets for hackers in recent years. The attack, which took place last June, exploited vulnerabilities in Harmony’s Ethereum-based bridge, Cointelgraph reports.

Officials say that on Jan. 13 this year, money stolen during the robbery (a whopping $60 million worth of tokens) was laundered into various crypto wallets by North Korean hackers using a privacy protocol dubbed “Railgun.” Some of these funds were subsequently “frozen” by the crypto service providers that control the wallets.

For years, cybercriminals associated with the Hermit Kingdom have been blamed for high-profile hacks in Web3 projects. Researchers say that DPKR hackers not only line their own pockets, but often use money stolen in crypto hacks to fund the regime’s initiatives — including its nuclear weapons program. Last year, the Lazarus Group was also said to have compromised the popular crypto project Ronin Bridge. The hackers eventually made off with assets in excess of $600 million, making it one of the largest crypto heists in history.

The FBI says it continues to work with its law enforcement partners to “identify and stop North Korea’s theft and money laundering of virtual currency used in support of North Korea’s ballistic missile and weapons of mass destruction programs.”