Digital asset exchanges Huobi and Binance have frozen virtual currencies worth around 1.4 Million USD linked to North Korea, as per blockchain analytics firm Elliptic. The firm noted that the appropriated funds, which were inoperative until recently, originated from last year’s hack of Harmony’s Horizon Bridge.
Elliptic, a blockchain analytics firm recently mentioned that it has collaborated with digital asset exchanges Binance and Huobi “to freeze Lazarus Group hack proceeds.”
“Crypto exchanges Binance and Huobi today froze accounts containing approximately $1.4 million in cryptoassets originating from the June 2022 hack of Harmony’s Horizon Bridge.”
The blockchain analytics firm further detailed,
“The Horizon cross-chain bridge was attacked on June 24th 2022, resulting in the loss of $99.6 million in crypto assets. These funds were then laundered through the now-sanctioned Tornado Cash”.
Notably, Ethereum mixer Tornado Cash was prohibited last year by the United States Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC).
Last year, Elliptic commented that the Horizon Bridge hacker sent more than ninety eight percent of the hundred million dollars in stolen digital assets into the Tornado Cash mixer. Interestingly, the purloined virtual currencies included ETH, USDT, WBTC, and BNB, as per the firm’s statement at that time. Moreover, the firm noted that the hacker immediately used Uniswap to convert the Ethereum-based assets into more than eighty five thousand ETH.
Elliptic scrutinizers traced the funds’ out-and-out trail through the mixer, and ascribed the hack to the Lazarus Group, which is a North Korea-controlled cybercrime organization. The FBI later confirmed Lazarus Group’s involvement in the hack.
“The stolen funds remained dormant until recently, when our investigators began to see them funneled through complex chains of transactions to exchanges.”
Simone Maini, the CEO of Elliptic commented,
“Today, money laundering was detected and stolen funds linked to North Korea were frozen, in real time.”
The CEO added that as an industry we have the ability and responsibility to avert virtual currencies becoming a haven for money launderers and sanctions evaders, and make sure that they are a force for good.
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