FBI alleges North Korea to be behind $100m crypto theft


The $100 million heist was done by North Korean hacking groups Lazarus Group and APT38 carried out the cyber heist on crypto firm harmony last June, The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) said in a statement on Monday.

A part of the $60 million in Ethereum seized during the heist was routed to other virtual asset service providers and converted to Bitcoin, according to the FBI, who also revealed that North Korean cyber attackers utilised the privacy protocol Railgun to do so earlier this month.

California-based Harmony said in June that hackers had stolen $100 million in digital currency via Horizon bridge, a so-called blockchain bridge used to transfer cryptocurrency across several blockchain networks.

The FBI is still working to “identify and disrupt” the efforts of those trying to steal and launder cryptocurrency. The threat of this money being used to support the illegal development of weapons of mass destruction by North Korea.

 “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,” the FBI said, referring to the acronym of the country’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

According to South Korea’s intelligence service, North Korean hackers stole an estimated $1.2 billion worth of virtual assets over the previous five years, including 800 billion won ($650.5 million) in 2022 alone.

North Korea has denied conducting cyberattacks abroad and charged the US and its allies with “spreading ill-hearted rumours,” breaking its usual policy of not interacting with foreign media.