North Korean Lazarus Group’s $200M Crypto Laundering Spree

Lazarus Group, a well-known group of hackers backed by the North Korean government, has successfully laundered more than $200 million in stolen cryptocurrency between 2020 and 2023. According to on-chain researcher ZachXBT, who chooses to remain anonymous, the group was responsible for stealing funds from at least 25 cryptocurrency hacks. Lazarus Group has gained notoriety since its emergence in 2009 and has stolen over $3 billion in cryptocurrency assets over the span of six years leading up to 2023.

To convert the stolen digital assets, the North Korean hackers utilized a combination of crypto mixing services and peer-to-peer (P2P) marketplaces. ZachXBT’s investigation revealed that accounts on Noones and Paxful, both P2P marketplaces, received funds from the hacks and were used to convert the cryptocurrency into fiat currencies. Specifically, two usernames, “EasyGoatfish351” and “FairJunco470,” were identified in the laundering process, displaying activity consistent with the stolen funds. The analysis also indicated that the hackers converted the stolen funds into the stablecoin USDT before exchanging them for cash and making withdrawals.

Historically, Lazarus Group has relied on over-the-counter (OTC) traders based in China to convert cryptocurrency to fiat currencies. Tether, a widely used stablecoin issuer, blacklisted over $374,000 worth of stolen funds in November 2023. Three out of four stablecoin issuers have blacklisted an additional $3.4 million held in a group of addresses associated with Lazarus, according to ZachXBT’s findings.

In 2023 alone, 17% of the total stolen cryptocurrency, equivalent to over $309 million, was attributed to Lazarus Group. A report by Immunefi revealed that hacks and exploits resulted in over $1.8 billion worth of cryptocurrency losses in 2023. Earlier in April, Lazarus Group employed targeted malware attacks on LinkedIn to steal digital assets, as reported by blockchain security analytics firm SlowMist. The group has been responsible for some of the largest heists in the cryptocurrency industry, such as the 2022 Ronin Bridge hack, which resulted in the theft of $625 million worth of cryptocurrency.

7 thoughts on “North Korean Lazarus Group’s $200M Crypto Laundering Spree

  1. The Ronin Bridge hack was devastating and proves how skilled and persistent Lazarus Group is.

  2. The cryptocurrency industry must come together to fight against hackers like Lazarus Group. Collaboration is key in combating these threats. 🤝🛡️

  3. The fact that Lazarus Group has stolen over $3 billion in cryptocurrency assets is a wake-up call for the industry. We must take action.

  4. The cryptocurrency industry needs stronger security measures to prevent these massive hacks. We can’t let hackers like Lazarus Group run rampant.

  5. The fact that over $1.8 billion was lost in 2023 due to hacks is shocking.

  6. It’s disgusting that the North Korean government supports these hackers.

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