Crypto

Axie Infinity Hit – Lazarus Sunk: Chainalysis Seized $30 Million

In the wake of the lost ETH – the historical game Axie Infinity, to earn a hack, continues to spill ink. After all, these are the same 173,600 ETH worth about $590 million at that time, as well as 25.5 million USDC that flew away on the blockchain. Then the first investigations showed that the culprits would be Lazarus, a group of North Korean hackers. Not content with recovering several million thanks to cryptocurrency giant Binance, the blockchain police continue to tirelessly investigate the Axie Infinity hack. And guess what: hard work pays off.

Chainalysis returned $30 million

So the announcement was made this week at Axie Con, the international conference of Axie Infinity followers. Chainalysis has announced that it has seized $30 million of the $625 million stolen. According to the announcement, it was the network tracking tools and Chainalysis crypto incident response teams that were able to trace the funds. In this investigation, the company collaborated with the US financial police to trace the laundered funds, thus confirming its place as a major player in the field of blockchain security.

Inter-network bridges (between blockchains) in this case turn out to be the Achilles’ heel of the blockchain. Apart from the Axie Infinity hack, the Harmony bridge hack, also made by Lazarus, illustrates this point.

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Chainalysis: The Anti-Blockchain Team

Since the beginning of 2022, the Lazarus group is estimated to have stolen over $1 billion worth of cryptocurrencies. As such, the blockchain analyst is seeing “a significant increase in funds stolen from DeFi protocols.” »

With the help of various data they had, the Chanalysis teams were able to draw a mode of operation used by the North Korean hacker group Lazarus. Repeating on-chain and across multiple blockchains, the money laundering process involved 12,000 different addresses. From these various observations, the blockchain analysis company then sheds light on the following mechanism:

“A typical DeFi laundering method in North Korea involves about five steps:

1- Stolen ethers are sent to intermediate wallets;

2- Ether is mixed in batches with Tornado Cash;

3 – exchange of ether for bitcoin;

4 – bitcoin mixed;

5 – Bitcoin is deposited on crypto-fiat services for cashing out. »

$30M Seized: How the Crypto Community Makes it Hard for North Korean Hackers to Profit – Chainalysis

Tornado Cash is no longer the lethal weapon of cryptocurrency hackers

However, Chainalysis notes that this discovered amount remains minimal compared to the $625 million stolen. Indeed, of the funds from the Axie Infinity hack, $455 million is on the Tornado Cash cryptocurrency mixer.

However, the recent OFAC sanctions, which stirred up the crypto community and undermined anonymity, allowed these funds to be blocked. Essentially, these sanctions require the suspension of accounts that receive or trade with Tornado Cash addresses.

This takeover is significant and symbolic for both the blockchain cop and the Axie Infinity community, whose ecosystem has lost over $600 million. For their part, Lazarus web hackers continue to rock the blockchain, becoming crypto enemy number 1.

Hacks are a nasty danger, but not inevitable. Chainalysis is investigating! Play it safe and register now on the PrimeXBT platform (commercial link).

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