According to a recent tweet by blockchain tracker PeckShieldAlert (@PeckShieldAlert), over the past two days, infamous North Korean hackers called Lazarus Group have been busy laundering crypto. This is part of the Ethereum (ETH) they stole in June of last year during the exploit of Harmony's Horizon cross-chain bridge.
Laundering $4 million in ETH
The details of this have been recently shared in an FBI report. The Federal Bureau of Investigation posted an official follow-up to the statement it released in the last week of January about Lazarus (aka APT38), a group of North Korean hackers that exploited the Horizon Bridge and stole approximately $100 million in Ethereum, as reported by U.Today in June.
Over the past two days, hackers have been using the peel chain layering process. Peel chain allows the laundering of a great amount of crypto by sending it gradually from one wallet in small transactions to new addresses. Often these new addresses are set up on crypto exchanges.
However, this process is easy to spot by AML departments on exchanges as these transactions raise red flags and require immediate reporting to authorities.
#PeckShieldAlert North Korea’s Lazarus Group (credit to ZachXBT) is actively laundering at least $4M worth of $ETH from the Harmony's Horizon Bridge exploit via the peel chain layering process within the last 2 days #FBIhttps://t.co/eu4dXntqRw pic.twitter.com/asuVW5927G— PeckShieldAlert (@PeckShieldAlert) February 8, 2023
$18 million in ETH from hack on move
As reported by U.Today last month, on Jan. 29, on-chain sleuth ZachXBT reported that it had spotted a much bigger amount of ETH stolen from Harmony to be moving.
Back then, it was 11,304 ETH worth roughly $17.7 million. The funds were sent in small portions to at least six crypto trading venues. However, ZachXBT contacted them promptly, hoping that they would freeze those illegally gained funds.
The sum in crypto that was being split and moved was too large to avoid being noticed by the exchanges' IT experts, so there was a high chance that the crypto would be returned to Harmony.
Record year for North Korean hackers in profit
According to a recent UN report published by Reuters, last year turned out to be record-breaking for hackers working for the North Korean regime. They reportedly help to fund the government's program on creating nuclear weapons.
According to various sources cited by Reuters, DPRK hackers managed to steal crypto worth from $630 million to over a billion USD.
The crypto stolen by these hackers is getting harder to trace as these cybercriminals are using more advanced hacking techniques than before.