A hacker group linked to North Korea is responsible for stealing $ 620 million worth of cryptocurrencies after being hijacked on the Axie Infinity video game platform in late March, US authorities announced on Thursday.
“Thanks to our investigation, we were able to confirm that the Lazarus team and APT38, pirates linked to North Korea, were behind the theft of $ 620 million worth of Ethereum cryptocurrencies reported on March 29,” he said. (FBI) in its press release.
The Ronin network, used for the online game Axie Infinity, has suffered one of the biggest cryptocurrency attacks.
Axie Infinity is a blockchain based game, a distributed chain of trading groups that can not be modified. Allows you to save resources in the form of NFTs (non-fungible tokens).
The game, created in 2018 by Sky Mavis, a company based in Vietnam, has an explosive growth, especially in developing countries. It attracts 35% of the traffic and the majority of the 2.5 million active players from the Philippines.
The cyber-attack on Axie Infinity was exploited by exploiting a security flaw in Sky Mavis software.
The company used a blockchain “parallel” to Ethereum, which allowed it to have its own internal trading system and currency within the game, “bridged” with the cryptocurrency. The method is faster, cheaper, but less safe.
It was exactly the “parallel” system that was hacked, allowing hackers to steal money that players had amassed.
According to a report by the US military in 2020, North Korea’s cyber warfare unit, the so-called “Office 121”, has about 6,000 members operating inside and outside the country, especially in Belarus, China, India, Malaysia and Russia.
The Lazarus group, which was sanctioned by the US in 2019, became notorious in 2014, when it was accused of piracy in the studios of Sony Pictures Entertainment in retaliation for the film “The Interview”.
Hackers linked to North Korea are believed to have stolen about $ 400 million worth of cryptocurrencies by launching cyber-attacks in 2021, the data analysis platform Chainanalysis reported in January.