The Lazarus Group hackers, allegedly originating from North Korea, withdrew $1.2 million from their ill-gotten gains in Bitcoin from a coin mixing service to a holding wallet, marking their most significant transaction in over a month.
Data provided by the blockchain analysis firm Arkham indicates that the Lazarus Group’s wallet received 27.371 bitcoins (BTC) in two transactions before transferring 3.34 BTC to a previously used wallet. The coin mixing service used in this process could not be identified.
The Lazarus Group just made its biggest transactions in over a month, withdrawing $1M in BTC from what appears to be a mixing service this morning, then sending $150K of that to an inactive address they’ve sent to before.
— Arkham (@ArkhamIntel) January 8, 2024
A coin mixing service, also known as tumbling, is a blockchain-based protocol designed to conceal the ownership of cryptocurrencies by mixing them with coins from other users before redistributing them, complicating the identification of who received what. Although blockchains are typically transparent, the use of coin mixing services makes it challenging to trace the provenance and transfers of cryptocurrencies.
Lazarus Amasses Illicit Fortunes in the Billions of Dollars
The Lazarus Group is linked to hacks and cryptocurrency exploits estimated at $3 billion over the last three years, according to reports from the cybersecurity firm Recorded Future. The U.S. Treasury Department linked the Lazarus Group to the theft of $600 million in cryptocurrency from the Ronin bridge linked to Axie Infinity.
According to a recent report from TRM Labs, North Korea-affiliated hackers were involved in a third of all cryptocurrency exploits and thefts in 2023, making off with around $600 million in funds. Currently, the Lazarus Group’s wallet holds $79 million, according to Arkham’s labels, with $73 million in bitcoin and $3.4 million in ether (ETH).
Taylor Monahan, developer of Metamask, noted that the recent Orbit attack, resulting in the loss of $81 million, follows similar patterns to previous attacks carried out by the Lazarus Group. The situation underscores the ongoing challenges facing the community in the fight against criminal activities and emphasizes the importance of security in an environment that is constantly under threat