Chainalysis Exposes Russia-North Korea Cyber Link in Harmony Hack

by BSC News

September 15, 2023


The cyberattack, which targeted Harmony Protocol and resulted in the theft of $21.9 million in cryptocurrency, raises serious questions about illicit exchanges, money laundering, and international cybersecurity efforts.

Lazarus Group's Crypto Heist

Recent revelations from Chainalysis have shed light on a troubling convergence between Russia and North Korea in a high-profile cryptocurrency hack.

At the center of this cybersecurity saga is the Harmony Protocol, which fell victim to a staggering $21.9 million cryptocurrency theft. Chainalysis data traces the stolen funds to a Russia-based exchange known for processing illicit transactions. 

The Lazarus Group, a North Korean state-sponsored hacking entity, has left its digital fingerprints on this cyber heist. Notably, the group utilized United States-sanctioned cryptocurrency mixers, Tornado Cash and Blender, in the Harmony Bridge hack, as well as in other high-profile cyberattacks.

What adds to the complexity of this situation is Chainalysis' revelation that Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) entities have been utilizing Russian services, including the aforementioned exchange, for money laundering activities since 2021. 

North Korea's Evolving Cyber Warfare Tactics

The alarming development comes in the wake of increased concerns raised by independent sanctions monitors regarding North Korea's evolving tactics in cyber warfare. A recent United Nations report has sounded the alarm, indicating that DPRK is using increasingly sophisticated cyberattacks to fund its nuclear missile programs.

Worth noting, as of September 14, these hackers had stolen a total of $340.4 million worth of cryptocurrency in 2023, a drop from the record $1.65 billion reported in 2022. However, as per reports, this decrease in theft may be more indicative of changing tactics than a reduction in cyber threats.

In the past ten days alone, the Lazarus Group has been linked to two separate hacks, targeting Stake ($41 million) on September 4 and CoinEx ($54 million) on September 12. These incidents account for over $95 million in losses and have contributed to North Korea-linked attacks comprising roughly 30% of all cryptocurrency funds stolen in hacks this year, according to Chainalysis.


Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of BSCNews. The information provided in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and should not be construed as investment advice. BSCNews assumes no responsibility for any investment decisions made based on the information provided in this article