Norwegian police (Økokrim) have seized 60 million crowns ($5,800,000) worth of cryptocurrency stolen by North Korean hacking group Lazarus last year from Axie Infinity’s Ronin Bridge.

This action is the largest financial seizure of its kind to take place in Norway, made possible by the money-tracing skills and persistence of Økokrim investigators.

“Økokrim is good at following the money,” declared a machine-translated statement from senior attorney Marianne Bender.

“This case shows that we also have a great ability to track money on the blockchain, even if criminals use advanced technologies. [hiding] methods.”

The seized cryptocurrency was stolen from Sky Mavis, the publisher of the blockchain-based game Axie Infinity, which suffered losses of $620 million in March 2022 after an attacker manipulated the game’s Ronin bridge to take partial control of its validators and perform two unauthorized transactions.

THE The FBI linked the attack to the North Korean Lazarus hackers in April 2022. However, a few months later, the initial intrusion method turned out to be a fake job offer targeting an employee of Sky Mavis, a common method employed by Lazarus.

In September 2022, the FBI, with the help of blockchain experts, seized $30,000,000 cryptocurrency value stolen in the attack. While the amount represented only 10% of the stolen cryptocurrency (and 5% of its value), authorities promised that more seizures would follow.

Indeed, Økokrim says he collaborated with international partners to carry out this seizure, in particular FBI agents specialized in tracing cryptocurrency transactions.

“These are funds that can support North Korea and its nuclear weapons program. So it was important to trace the cryptocurrency and try to stop the money when they try to convert it into assets. physical.” – Mr. Bender (translated)

The seized funds will be returned to Sky Mavis, and from there they will be used for partial reimbursement to the victims.

Of course, there is still a long way to go to recover the full amount stolen, but this new seizure is undoubtedly another blow for Lazare and North Korea.


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