US seizes $30 million in cryptocurrency stolen from North Korean hackers: Investigator

It is the latest example of a coordinated effort by US law enforcement agencies to recover some of the hundreds of millions of dollars North Korean hackers allegedly looted from cryptocurrency companies in recent months.

$30 million recovered FBI $600 million However, the seizure remains a breakthrough for law enforcement, and investigators are actively working to recover some of the remaining loot. according to To Erin Plante, Senior Director of Research at Chainalysis.

The FBI and Justice Department did not immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment. Executives associated with Sky Mavis and her video game Axie Infinity did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Wall Street Journal first reported the seizures.

According to the United Nations, North Korean government-backed hackers have stolen billions of dollars in recent years by raiding cryptocurrency exchanges.

In a separate but related activity, recent CNN survey found North Korean operatives disguised as other nationalities sought employment with cryptocurrency companies in the United States and abroad. It is part of an effort to acquire a “significant stream of revenue” to help fund the top priorities of protection.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, North Korean hackers also used ransomware — malicious software that locks computers in an extortion scheme — last year to target health care providers in Kansas and Colorado. The ministry recovered $500,000 from him extorted by North Korea in these cases. Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said: in July.
The Treasury Department is trying to crack down on North Korean hackers targeting cryptocurrencies by sanctioning several accounts used by North Korean hackers to send money. “Mixers” or services allegedly used by hackerso Laundering stolen cryptocurrencies.

These actions make it harder for North Korean hackers to cash in stolen funds, Plante said.

“It’s a lot of dirty money, so it’s getting harder and harder to turn these funds into services and cash them,” Plante told CNN.

But there are still plenty of mixing services out there that aren’t under sanctions, Plante said, adding he hopes North Korean hackers will try to evade U.S. law enforcement by altering their services.

For investigators, the time immediately following a hack is critical in trying to get back the money the attackers are trying to launder through their cryptocurrency accounts. The FBI continues to urge victims to share information about these accounts soon after the hack is discovered to increase their chances of recovering stolen funds.

Department of Justice Officials June 2021 confiscated about half Here’s a breakdown of the estimated $4.4 million ransom paid to Russian-speaking hackers by Colonial Pipeline, which provides approximately 45% of the fuel consumed on the East Coast.

But these seizures represent only a fraction of the billions of dollars generated each year by cybercrime. According to Chainalysis, cybercriminals have received more than $1.2 billion in ransoms in 2020 and 2021 combined.

North Korean computer operatives, like those of other foreign powers, are also tasked with collecting valuable information for the regime, according to U.S. officials and cybersecurity experts. From February to July, suspected North Korean hackers were involved in espionage activities collecting information on energy companies in the United States, Japan and Canada. said on thursday.


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