In a recent statement, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) alerted the crypto industry about suspicious Bitcoin transactions linked to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). These activities connect directly to a theft amounting to hundreds of millions of dollars.
The FBI identified the perpetrators as “TraderTraitor-affiliated actors,” also recognized by other names like Lazarus Group and APT38. Over the last day, the FBI tracked a significant movement of roughly 1,580 bitcoin – an amount that exceeds $40 million in valuation. The Bureau is highly concerned that the DPRK could be prepping to liquidate these assets.
FBI Alerts Crypto Industry To Freeze Bitcoin Payout
The FBI emphatically stated, “The FBI is warning cryptocurrency companies of recent blockchain activity connected to the theft of hundreds of millions of dollars in cryptocurrency.” The Bureau also expressed apprehensions that “the DPRK may attempt to cash out the bitcoin worth more than $40 million dollars.”
These recent events unravel a chain of high-profile heists that have shaken the crypto landscape. Noteworthy thefts include a massive $60 million from payment processor Alphapo and an astounding $100 million exploit of Atomic Wallet. Both incidents occurred in June 2023, pointing towards a meticulously orchestrated operation by the alleged perpetrators.
Earlier breaches had already attracted global attention. Last year, the FBI had revealed that the same groups were behind the Horizon Bridge hack, resulting in losses north of $100 million. Recollecting the enormity of the theft, the Bureau noted, “The DPRK TraderTraitor-affiliated actors were responsible for several high-profile international cryptocurrency heists.”
Moreover, cybersecurity giants and international communities have been echoing warnings and emphasizing heightened digital security. Nikesh Arora, CEO of Palo Alto Networks, in a recent conversation with CNBC, suggested that businesses “needed to beef up and modernize their systems” to deter malicious entities.
Another stark reminder of the magnitude of this issue was when “Sky Mavis’ faced a $625 million hack on the Ethereum-linked sidechain Ronin Bridge,” a theft that the FBI previously confirmed alongside its cybersecurity advisory on TraderTraitor.
The industry has shown resilience and collective action against these cyber threats. Last year, when Lazarus attempted to move funds amounting to $63 million linked to the Horizon bridge, a combined effort from exchanges and other crypto entities effectively blocked the transfers.
As of now, the FBI has released six specific bitcoin addresses associated with the stolen assets. They urge “private sector entities to examine the blockchain data associated with these addresses and be vigilant in guarding against transactions directly with, or derived from, the addresses.”
— Jake Simmons (@realJakeSimmons) August 23, 2023
Concluding their statement, the FBI asserted its dedication to curb such malicious activities, emphasizing, “The FBI will continue to expose and combat the DPRK’s use of illicit activities—including cybercrime and virtual currency theft—to generate revenue for the regime.”
At press time, the BTC price was at $26,018.
Featured image from BOL News, chart from TradingView.com