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HomeSecurityNorth Korea's Crypto Heist: $150M Stolen, Laundered Through Tornado Cash

North Korea’s Crypto Heist: $150M Stolen, Laundered Through Tornado Cash

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UN Report Reveals Lazarus Group’s Sophisticated Money Laundering Scheme

North Korea’s notorious Lazarus Group has pulled off a massive heist, using privacy protocol Tornado Cash to launder nearly $150 million in stolen cryptocurrency assets in March. According to a leaked confidential United Nations (UN) report, the group extracted $147.5 million worth of cryptocurrencies from HTX, a crypto exchange owned by Tron founder Justin Sun. The funds were then siphoned into North Korea using Tornado Cash.

The Power of Crypto Mixing

Crypto mixing services like Tornado Cash are handy tools for hackers and scammers. These services allow bad actors to anonymize stolen crypto assets and make them untraceable. The UN is currently investigating 97 North Korean cyberattacks that drained roughly $3.6 billion worth of cryptocurrencies between 2017 and 2024.

The Tornado Cash Controversy

In 2022, the United States sanctioned Tornado Cash for allegedly helping North Korea evade cross-border remittance sanctions. However, the protocol and its founders refuted the allegations for over two years. On May 14, Alexey Pertsev, the developer of Tornado Cash, was found guilty of money laundering, raising potentially severe implications for open-source code developers.

Global Hacker Community

Using Tornado Cash to siphon stolen funds is not limited to North Korean hackers. Rather, it’s the most sought-after method across the global hacker community. On May 14, Blockchain investigation firm PeckShield found that Stolen Ether worth $53 million linked to the Poloniex $100 million hack was moved to Tornado Cash.

Source: Cointelegraph

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