Hackers linked to the North Korean government are responsible for stealing more than $600 million of cryptocurrency from online game Axie Infinity, the US’s Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) says.
It’s the latest in a series of more and more outlandish cyber heists that have been tied to North Korea.
“Through our investigation we were able to confirm Lazarus Group and APT38, cyber actors associated with the DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea), are responsible for the theft of $620 million in Ethereum reported on March 29th,” the FBI said in a statement released on Thursday (local time).
Ethereum is a technology platform associated with a type of cryptocurrency.
What is Axie Infinity?
Axie Infinity is a video game that allows players to earn cryptocurrency.
Sky Mavis is the company that created the game and they announced the theft back on March 29.
At the time, the amount stolen was estimated to be worth about $600 million.
It was taken from a “bridge”, or network that allows users to send cryptocurrency from one blockchain to another.
The US Treasury Department sanctioned the Lazarus Group on Thursday (local time).
These are a group of hackers who is believed to be working for the North Korean government.
The department sanctioned the specific “wallet”, or cryptocurrency address, that was used to cash out on the Axie Infinity hack.
Why has North Korea been doing this?
Cyberattacks have been an important source of revenue for the North Korean regime for years.
They use the money in their quest to get working nuclear weapons. In March, the hermit kingdom launched its first intercontinental ballistic missile in years, CNN reported.
According to Chainalysis (a company that tracks digital currency transactions), Lazarus Group has stolen an estimated $1.75 billion worth of cryptocurrency in recent years.