North Korean Hackers Execute Axie Infinity Crypto Thefts; More than $600 Million in Ethereum Stolen

The FBI has accused North Korean hackers of a theft of more than $600 million in cryptocurrency. The theft is described as a hacking attack on a computer network of a video game Axie Infinity, where players earned cryptocurrency Ethereum.

The FBI and the US Treasury indicated on 14 April, that the hackers are two cyber actors having ties with the North Korean Government and were involved with the stealing of more than $600 million in Ethereum. "Through our investigations we were able to confirm Lazarus Group and APT38, cyber actors associated with [North Korea], are responsible for the theft," the FBI said in a statement.


On 29 March Sky Mavis, the creator of Axie Infinity, announced that the game was hacked on 23 March and approximately $600 million were stolen from a "bridge," that authorized crypto being sent from one blockchain to another. The value presently stands to be around $625 million. This March hack of Blockchain Project Ronin, raised several questions about security and privacy issues and was one of the largest hacks that knocked the crypto world.

The only solution for Sky Mavis to prevent and protect themselves from such attacks was to come up with a more secured Ethereum blockchain, as the one they used was relatively slow and expensive and hence made it easier for the hackers to exploit the weakness and strike.

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The North Korea flag flutters next to concertina wire at the North Korean embassy. Reuters

"The United States is aware that the DPRK has increasingly relied on illicit activities – including cybercrime – to generate revenue for its weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs as it tries to evade robust US and UN sanctions," a Treasury Department spokesperson said, using the initials of North Korea's official name.

As per a draft resolution reviewed by the Reuters news agency the United States is urging the UN Security Council to blacklist the Lazarus Group and further go ahead with the freezing of its assets.

According to a US military report of 2020, North Korea's hacking programme has grown immensely from the mid-1990s to today being known as the Bureau Unit, a 6,000-strong warfare unit operating from various countries such as India, China, Belarus, Russia and Malaysia.