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U.S. Seizes $30 Million Worth of Crypto from North Korean Hackers

Chainalysis, a U.S. company, said it had worked with the FBI to recover more than $30 million in cryptocurrency stolen from online video game maker Axie Infinity by North Korea-linked Lazarus Group, marking the first time digital assets seized by the malicious attacker have been recovered.

The amount recovered is just a percentage of the estimated $600 million that the FBI alleges North Korean hackers stole from the makers of a popular video game that allows users to earn digital currency.

“The seizures represent approximately 10% of the total funds stolen from Axie Infinity (accounting for price differences between time stolen and seized), and demonstrate that it is becoming more difficult for bad actors to successfully cash out their ill-gotten crypto gains,” Erin Plante, senior director of investigations at Chainalysis said.

Plante, Chainalysis’ lead investigator said the seizure, which will not be the last, is a significant development for law enforcement, and investigators are working hard to seize the remaining loot.

According to Plante, the chain analysis was involved in the seizures, using “advanced tracking techniques to track stolen funds to withdraw ATMs, and working with law enforcement and industry stakeholders to quickly freeze funds.”

The Lazarus Group had access to five of the nine private keys owned by transaction validators for Ronin Network’s cross-chain bridge. Subsequently, the group facilitated two withdrawal transactions: one for 173,600 Ether (ETH) and the other for $25.5 million Coin USDC, noting that the Lazarus group pocketed these funds using “over 12,000 different crypto addressees to date.” Chainalysis stated the stolen ETH coins were mixed in batches with the popular Tornado Cash mixed service.

The sources for this piece include an article in TheHackerNews.

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