North Korea suspected of stealing cryptocurrency to finance weapons

North Korea suspected of stealing cryptocurrency to finance weapons

(Photo: Quantitative/Unsplash)

According to blockchain experts and US officials, the theft of $100 million worth of cryptocurrency from the Harmony Protocol that occurred on the 23rd matches the characteristics of a North Korean hacking operation.

The money laundering technique alone is the same as the previous seven thefts this year: quickly converting cryptocurrencies into ether and sending them to Tornado Cash, a mixing service that combines different deposits, making the sources difficult to trace. According to blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis, the collective value of the stolen items is now around $1 billion.

US Treasury Department sanctions investigator Jim Gentile said there was concern that “this money could be used for nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs.” The United Nations has also warned that Pyongyang could use stolen cryptocurrency to fund such initiatives.

Two days after the hack, Harmony publicly offered $1 million to return the money to the attackers. Now the bounty has increased: “To those associated with the hacker: there is no respect among thieves,” Harmony posted. “We are offering you $10 million to report a refund of the stolen money.” The deadline for cybercriminals is July 4.

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About the author: Sarah Gracie

"Proud social media buff. Unapologetic web scholar. Internet guru. Lifelong music junkie. Travel specialist."

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