The latest news report showed that three North Korean have been sanctioned by the US Department of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC). The trio was accused of failing and abating North Korea via illegal financing and cybercriminal activities.
According to the report, the US Treasury Department believed that the three accused materially aid the Lazarus Group to withdraw stolen crypto assets in fiat currency. The Lazarus Group is a hacking team based in North Korea known for cryptocurrency heists.
China-based Wu Huihui and Hong Kong-based Cheng Hung Man are both over-the-counter crypto traders. They were accused of helping the notorious Lazarus group execute crypto transactions while bypassing authorities. The third individual, Sim Hyon Sop is a banker based in N. Korea. He helped the group with other financial aid.
North Korea Denies Association With Deadly Lazarus Group
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Mathew Graves, The U.S. Attorney for the Columbian District, stated that N. Korea has been bypassing US sanctions via different means as depicted by today’s sanction. He added that the US regulators would not stop until they trace the stolen crypto, identify the perpetrators and duly punish them.
The report revealed that the funds the Lazarus Group are stealing are being used by N. Korea to sponsor and support their illegal nuclear project. The country is popular for threatening Japan and neighboring countries with nuclear warheads.
According to statistics, N. Korea has raised billions of dollars since it started operating crypto thefts and other cyber-criminal projects in 2017. Additionally, the White House revealed that in the space of two years, the country had stolen about $1 billion in crypto assets, using the funds to sponsor its missile projects.
Furthermore, the US authority previously accused the notorious Lazarus group of attacking Axie Infinity’s platform. The perpetrators reportedly made more than $625 million in USDC and Ethereum from the hack on the platform.
In addition, the group was also accused of the Sony Pictures hack and Wannacry ransomware attack that happened in 2014 and 2017 respectively. Nonetheless, N. Korea continuously refutes the accusations claiming it knows nothing about the Lazarus group.
DeFi Projects Suffers Numerous Hacks From N. Koreans
Hacking groups based in North Korea are reportedly responsible for a large part of cyber crimes. They are reportedly fond of figuring out new ways to exploit the internet and scam people of their funds.
The American Treasury Department stated recently that scammers and hackers from N. Korea penetrate loopholes in the DeFi ecosystem to bypass security measures on a platform and steal investors’ funds, according to the US regulator.
In addition, the authority added that many DeFi projects are not compliant with some AML and CFT security measures, exposing them to cyber attacks. Hence, the hackers and scammers from N. Korea took advantage of the situation to exploit the vulnerable DeFi projects.
Similarly, Mandiant, a cybersecurity company revealed the strategy used by another North Korean hacking team, APT43. It claimed that the group steals crypto assets and wipes them clean, making them untraceable.
Explaining further, Mandiant said that APT43 purchases cloud mining services with funds that it stole to clean wipe the on-chain transaction history on the token. This would clean the address of the transaction, making it impossible for regulators to trace it.
In addition, the cybersecurity firm stated that APT43 used its stolen funds to acquire operational facilities according to the direction of the North Korean ideology of self-reliance.