The US Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) alerted crypto firms on Tuesday, that North Korean hackers may soon attempt to cash out stolen Bitcoin worth over $40 million.
The infamous hacker groups from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) – Lazarus and APT38 – have moved close to 1,580 Bitcoin (BTC) from several cryptocurrency heists over the past 24 hours and held in six different wallet addresses, FBI tracks.
“Private sector entities should examine the blockchain data associated with these addresses and be vigilant in guarding against transactions directly with, or derived from, the addresses.”
The Lazarus Group is a North Korean threat actor with ties to several high-profile crypto hacks including the $37 million theft of virtual currency from CoinsPaid, $100 million theft from Atomic Wallet, and the $60 million worth of crypto heist from Alphapo, all of which occurred in June this year.
Per the alert published, the ‘TraderTraitor’ hacking groups have been found responsible for a series of big crypto-related heists with the goal of generating illicit revenue for the sanction-hit nation. TraderTraitor apparently entices recipients to download malware-laced cryptocurrency applications.
“The FBI will continue to expose and combat the DPRK’s use of illicit activities – including cybercrime and virtual currency theft – to generate revenue for the regime.”
A recent report by the blockchain analytics firm TRM Labs revealed that North Korean hackers are estimated to have stolen over $2 billion in cryptocurrencies in the last 5 years, with $200 million stolen in 2023 alone.
Erin Plante, vice president of investigations at Chainalysis and a cyber financial crime expert, said in a latest interview that North Korea-linked actors “stole an estimated $1.7 billion worth of cryptocurrency across several hacks.”
“Most experts agree the North Korean government is using these stolen assets to fund its nuclear weapons program.”