North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, might have another explosive idea in his mind, as the infamous North Korean hackers by the name of Lazarus Group have struck again. This time, the hackers used Harmony’s Horizon Bridge to drain over $100M. Elliptic, a blockchain analytics company, has indicated similarities between other cases of Lazarus Group hacking and the Horizon bridge drain.
The Usual Strategy of Lazarus Group
Elliptic identified the North Korean hacker organization’s usual tactics when it comes to hacking and scamming. First of all, it’s the widespread use of Tornado Cash, an automated service that helps withdraw cash and makes it hard to trace crypto transactions. According to Elliptic, over 40% of the stolen crypto has already been transferred to Tornado Cash.
Secondly, mostly the Asia Pacific region of Harmony was targeted, meaning the login details were stolen from Asian workers, which gives a hint that the skilled North Korean hackers deliberately chose a closer area for the attack to cash the loot out easy and fast.
Lazarus Wanted for $1M Reward
While the Elliptic analysis states that “There are strong indications that North Korea’s Lazarus Group may be responsible for this theft, based on the nature of the hack and the subsequent laundering of the stolen funds,” Harmony is already actively searching for ways to get the stolen funds back.
California-based Harmony Protocol has put up a $1M bounty for those who have valuable information that could lead to the solving of this crime. The Lazarus Group has already made headlines this year, as the infamous North Korean hackers were also held responsible for the $622M hack of Axie Infinity’s Ronin sidechain.
1/ Harmony has begun a global manhunt for the criminal(s) who stole $100M from the Horizon bridge. All exchanges have been notified. Law enforcement, @Chainalysis, and @AnChainAI have active investigations to identify the responsible actors and recover the stolen assets.— Harmony 💙 (@harmonyprotocol) June 30, 2022
Hackers Use the Stolen Funds to Fund Nuclear Trials
The totalitarian country of North Korea has been funding its nuclear bomb tests and missile trials with stolen crypto funds. That was confirmed by the United Nations, which accused North Korea of posing a needless threat in both the physical and digital worlds.
Furthermore, North Korean hackers have accumulatively stolen $1.5 billion in crypto in the last 5 years. Little to no surprise, the United Nations statement wasn’t approved by fellow terrorist countries Russia and the communism-fuelled China. On top of that, North Korea launched 9 nuclear power trials in January 2022 alone.