North Korea Responsible for Ronin Network Hack, FBI Confirms


The theft of $620 million in cryptocurrency, related to the bridge hack against the Ronin Network on March 23th, is the latest cybercrime committed by Pyongyang to fund its domestic programs, claimed the FBI.

North Korea Responsible for the Ronin Network Hack

The FBI issued a statement on Thursday, indicating that cyber actors APT38, also known as Lazarus Group, associated with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), are responsible for attacking the Ronin Bridge, reported on March 29th, and stealing a total of $620 million.

The agency called the cybercrime and digital asset theft the latest illicit crypto-related activity conducted by North Korea.

Sky Mavis, the company behind the play-to-earn giant Axie Infinity, revealed that unidentified hackers had stolen roughly $620 million in Ethereum on March 23 from the Ronin network. The latter allows users to bridge cryptocurrencies from one blockchain to another.

Lazarus Group, a notorious group of hackers, reportedly associated with the North Korean government, as a result, was sanctioned by the Treasury Department on Thursday. The US authorities also vowed to sanction the cryptocurrency addresses linked to the perpetrators committing the cybercrime.

Previous attacks launched by the Lazarus Group have reportedly brought in illicit revenues for Pyongyang to fund its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

Lazarus Group

According to the report on North Korean hackers by the blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis in January, an estimated total of $1.75 billion worth of cryptocurrency had been stolen by Lazarus Group, an organization responsible for most of the attacks led by DPRK’s primary intelligence agency.
The paper informed that the group had stolen and laundered massive sums of digital currencies since 2018. Its most successful individual hack was against KuCoin and on an unnamed cryptocurrency exchange, each netting over $250 million alone.

Only in 2021, the widely-sanctioned state launched at least seven cyberattacks targeted at cryptocurrency platforms that extracted nearly $400 million worth of digital assets. Among the stolen assets, Ether accounted for 58%, Bitcoin for 20%, and other altcoins for the remaining 22%.

Besides imposing sanctions and reinforcing cybersecurity measures, there is not much the US can do to combat this type of cyber attack because the government has a low chance of extraditing the criminals to American soil.


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