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FBI Confirms North Korea’s Lazarus was Behind $100M Harmony Bridge Hack

2 mins
Updated by Geraint Price
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In Brief

  • The FBI has confirmed that North Korea state-sponsored hackers were behind the $100M Horizon bridge hack.
  • Binance and Huobi recovered over 124 hacked BTC.
  • It is claimed North Korea is funding its nuclear weapons through cryptocurrency theft.
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The FBI has confirmed the involvement of North Korea’s Lazarus Group and APT38 in the $100 million Harmony Horizon hack last year.

The exploit of DeFi protocols was rampant in 2022, with cross-chain bridge hacks causing the most damage. Cross-chain bridge hacks accounted for 50% of DeFi hacks last year. Ronin Bridge, Poly Network, and Binance Bridge were prominent targets from which hackers exploited more than $500 million each.

Cross-chain bridges facilitate transactions between different blockchains without needing a centralized authority.

Source: CrossChainBridge

In June 2022, hackers exploited $100 million from the Harmony Horizon Bridge, the gateway between Harmony and other blockchains. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) confirmed on Monday through a press release that North Korea’s Lazarus Group and APT38 were behind the hack.

State-Sponsored Lazarus Group Stole $100M From Horizon Bridge

The FBI’s investigations, in collaboration with the National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team, and other agencies, confirmed that Lazarus Group and APT38 were responsible for the $100 million hack. Lazarus Group and APT38 are cybercrime groups associated with the government of North Korea.

The hackers used the privacy protocol Railgun to sneak out over $60 million worth of Ethereum on Jan.13. The on-chain sleuth, ZachXBT, caught this activity and reported it on Jan. 16. The North Korean exploiters deposited the funds on three different exchanges, using 350+ addresses. 

However, Binance and Huobi collaborated to stop the movement of the stolen funds and recovered over 124 BTC.

FBI has also listed some wallets that are currently being used to park the stolen crypto in the form of Bitcoin.

Lazarus Group addresses
Source: FBI press release

The FBI also linked Lazarus Group and APT38 to the $615 million Ronin Bridge hack last year. It is one of the largest crypto exploits of all time. 

Does North Korea Uses Crypto to Fund Weapons of Mass Destruction?

North Korean hackers have been involved in multiple cryptocurrency thefts. The hackers linked with the nation have reportedly stolen over $1 billion worth of crypto assets in the last five years. Most recently, in Dec. 2022, North Korean hackers stole over 1,000 NFTs and 300 ETH

According to the FBI press release, North Korea funds ballistic missiles and weapons of mass destruction programs through cryptocurrency thefts. Allegedly, the ex-Ethereum developer Virgil Griffith is helping the North Korean government with its malicious activities.

Got something to say about the Lazarus group, North Korean hackers, or anything else? Write to us or join the discussion on our Telegram channel. You can also catch us on TikTok, Facebook, or Twitter.

For BeInCrypto’s latest Bitcoin (BTC) analysis, click here

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Harsh Notariya
Harsh Notariya is a journalist at BeInCrypto, who writes about various topics, including decentralized physical infrastructure networks (DePIN), tokenization, crypto airdrops, decentralized finance (DeFi), meme coins, and altcoins. Before joining BeInCrypto, he was a community consultant at Totality Corp, specializing in the metaverse and non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Additionally, Harsh was a blockchain content writer and researcher at Financial Funda, where he created educational reports on...