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FBI blame North Korean hackers for stealing $600 million in cryptocurrency from video gaming company

The FBI on Thursday blamed hackers associated with the North Korean government for stealing more than $600 million in cryptocurrency last month from a video gaming company.

“Through our investigation we were able to confirm Lazarus Group and APT38, cyber actors associated with the DPRK, are responsible for the theft of $620 million in Ethereum reported on March 29th,” the FBI said in a statement.

“DPRK” is an abbreviation for North Korea’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, and Ethereum is a technology platform associated with a type of cryptocurrency.”




The FBI was referring to the recent hack of a computer network used by Axie Infinity, a video game that allows players to earn cryptocurrency. Sky Mavis, the company that created Axie Infinity, announced on March 29 that unidentified hackers had stolen the equivalent of roughly $600 million on March 23 from a “bridge,” or network that allows users to send cryptocurrency from one blockchain to another.

The US Treasury Department on Thursday sanctioned Lazarus Group, a wide swath of hackers believed to work on behalf of the North Korean government. Treasury sanctioned the specific “wallet,” or cryptocurrency address, that was used to cash out on the Axie Infinity hack.

Cyberattacks have been an important source of revenue for the North Korean regime for years as its leader, Kim Jong Un, has continued to pursue nuclear weapons, according to a United Nations panel and outside cybersecurity experts.



North Korea last month fired what is believed to be its first intercontinental ballistic missile in more than four years.

Lazarus Group has stolen an estimated $1.75 billion worth of cryptocurrency in recent years, according to Chainalysis, a firm that tracks digital currency transactions.