• Norway’s Økokrim economy crime unit seized $5.9 million in cryptocurrency from a major cyber attack on Axie Infinity, a popular play-to-earn (P2E) gaming platform.
• The seizure is part of a global effort to prevent the hackers from laundering the funds for criminal activities and is linked to North Korea’s Lazarus hacking group.
• The successful seizure could mean that the stolen funds could not be used to fund North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.
Norway’s Crypto Bust Deals Blow To North Korean Hackers
Seizure of NOK 60 Million (or $5.9 Million) in Cryptocurrency by Norway’s Economy Crimes Unit
Norway’s economy crimes unit, Økokrim, has seized a whopping NOK 60 million (or $5.9 million) in cryptocurrency as part of their ongoing investigation into the Sky Mavis cyber attack in March 2022, which saw a staggering $600 million worth of cryptocurrency stolen from Axie Infinity, the popular play-to-earn (P2E) gaming platform.
International Collaboration to Tackle Profit-Driven Cybercrime
The successful seizure of the cryptocurrency puts a significant spanner in the works of the hackers‘ laundering process and is allegedly linked to Lazarus, a North-Korea based hacking group. In an international collaboration with FBI specialists, Økokrim have tracked down stolen assets via cryptocurrency transactions with an aim to prevent them from being used for criminal activities – setting new standards for global authorities tackling cybercriminals.
North Korea’s Intelligence Agency Behind Thefts Worth Up To $1 Billion
According to a Feb 2023 report, North Korea’s primary intelligence agency – Reconnaissance General Bureau – has been behind thefts totalling up to $1 billion worth of crypto through its teams – Lazarus, Andariel and Kimsuky.
Compensating Victims & Preventing Funds From Funding Nuclear Weapons Program
Økokrim has plans to make things right for victims affected by the heist and communicate with Sky Mavis accordingly in order to ensure they receive full compensation. Marianne Bender, first states attorney at Økokrim mentioned that hackers are not just looking for crypto but also cash out investments and funnel money into North Korea’s nuclear weapons program; making it imperative that tracking down cryptocurrencies is done in order to prevent this from happening.
This case demonstrates that international law enforcement have the skills necessary to follow money on blockchain when criminals try outsmart them with advanced tactics – setting new standards for global collaboration against profit-driven crime and preventing funds from being used illegally or funding illegal programs like nuclear weapons development by terrorists or rogue states such as North Korea.