FBI confirms North Korea’s involvement in Harmony hack

Cold War 2.0 – Since the 1950s and the end of the Korean War, United States and their allies have strained relations with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Led with an iron fist by Kim Jong-un, the North Koreaas we call it in France, is regularly suspected of financing various pirate groups. And these are the source of some of the hacks the most resounding of recent years. This week the FBI has just put an end to nearly six months of investigation into the theft of 100 million dollars operated on the Harmony bridge last summer. And without surprise, the American federal services confirm that it is indeed North Korea which was behind this offensive. Direction Washington DC to take stock.

The 100 million Harmony Bridge hack was of North Korean origin

It is therefore the press service of the FBIbased in the federal capital, which confirmed what many already suspected. Yes, these are good north korean pirates who hijacked the 100 million dollars the June 24 2022. And more particularly two groups: the group Lazarus and APT38.

Thanks to the joint actions of the offices of the FBI of Charlotte and Los Angeles aided by the Cyber ​​Division of the FBI, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California and Columbia, the National Anti-Corruption Team cryptocurrency and the FBI’s Virtual Assets Unit, the investigation has come to an end.

Stealing funds is one thing but successfully laundering it without getting caught is another!  The North Korean pirates called Lazarus found out the hard way.  Of the 100 million, they would have already lost 60!
Blockchain sleuth tries to piece together the path of some of the stolen funds – source: Twitter

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The hackers unmasked by the FBI and the community

And the group Lazarus is well known to the American services since the day after the hack, his name was already circulating. But the most complicated thing for these groups is not always to fly the funds, but rather to whiten. And, it is during this operation that they have been unmasked. Indeed, on January 13, 60 million dollars from the Harmony hack were deposited on a privacy protocol called RAILGUN.

Then the idea was to distribute them on different centralized platforms. But, it was without counting on the community! And, in the lead, we find the detective of the blockchain, ZachXBT. He reported these suspicious movements as early as January 16. Finally, the FBI will proceed to blockage of a large part of these funds.

After Ronin and now Harmony, hackers in the pay of North Korea continue to harm DeFi. But the American authorities, supported by their European allies, do not admit defeat. They continue to pursue them despite the difficulty inherent in this type of activity. Because these stolen funds would mainly be used to finance programs of ballistic missiles and weapons of destruction. At least, if the FBI is to be believed. So no respite for pirates and enemies of freedom! Lately it’s the Hong Kong-based crypto exchange, Bitzlato who has borne the brunt of international justice.

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