Blockchain researchers say North Korea-linked hackers are probably behind a $70 million theft from crypto trade CoinEx.
CoinEx, which says it’s primarily based in Hong Kong, mentioned on Tuesday on social media platform X, previously often known as Twitter, that wallets used to retailer the trade’s crypto belongings had been hacked. It mentioned on Friday it estimates its losses at $70 million, which it mentioned is a “small portion” of its complete belongings.
Blockchain analysis agency Elliptic mentioned that “plenty of components” point out that the Lazarus Group – a hacker group related to North Korea – was chargeable for the assault.
CoinEx has not mentioned who it believes was behind the assault, though it has informed Reuters it’s conscious that some safety corporations have claimed cyber-espionage groups linked to North Korea have been accountable.
“The hacker’s id stays underneath investigation,” CoinEx informed Reuters by way of electronic mail early on Friday. CoinEx didn’t reply to a Reuters remark request despatched by way of electronic mail in a while Friday, outdoors of Hong Kong hours, about Elliptic’s analysis, which was printed in a weblog submit.
Elliptic mentioned that among the funds stolen from CoinEx have been despatched to a crypto pockets tackle which had beforehand been utilized by the Lazarus Group to launder stolen funds. The funds have been additionally despatched to the Ethereum blockchain utilizing a blockchain “bridge” – a method of transferring funds between totally different blockchains – which had additionally beforehand been utilized by the Lazarus Group.
North Korea’s mission to the United Nations in New York didn’t reply to a Reuters remark request despatched by way of electronic mail.
One other blockchain analysis agency, Chainalysis, informed Reuters on Thursday it had “medium-high confidence” that North Korea was behind the assault.
Elliptic mentioned the Lazarus Group “seems to have lately ramped up its operations,” stealing round $240 million price of crypto belongings in 4 separate assaults for the reason that starting of June, along with the CoinEx assault.
North Korea stepped up its cryptocurrency theft final yr, utilizing refined strategies to steal extra in 2022 than another yr, based on a United Nations report. Sanctions displays have beforehand accused North Korea of utilizing cyberattacks to assist fund its nuclear and missile packages.
North Korea has beforehand denied allegations of hacking or different cyberattacks.
(Reporting by Elizabeth Howcroft and Raphael Satter, modifying by Louise Heavens)
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