North Korean Hackers Allegedly Shift $63.5 Million in Ether Stolen From the Horizon Bridge

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Last Updated on January 16, 2023 by Bitfinsider

On-chain experts identified huge transfers from wallets linked to alleged North Korean hackers who stole roughly $100 million in cryptocurrency from Horizon in June of last year over the weekend.

Horizon serves as a link between Ethereum and the Harmony blockchain. At the time, the funds were dispersed across many wallets using Tornado Cash, a popular crypto mixer. Elliptic and Chainalysis, two blockchain forensic organizations, linked the Harmony hackers to Lazarus, a well-known North Korean hacking outfit connected with the state.

Over 200 days later, the hackers sought to launder a major chunk of the stolen assets in order to avoid capture.

ZachXBT, a bitcoin transaction on-chain investigator, and security firm SlowMist were the first to discover unusual behavior concerning wallets related with the hackers.

According to ZachXBT, who gathered on-chain data and spotted these unusual transactions, the hackers moved 41,000 ETH ($63.5 million) across over 350 distinct addresses in the last few days.

On January 13, hackers began transferring these assets to Railgun, a privacy-focused exchange built directly on the Ethereum blockchain that works as a mixer, obscuring transactions. Such protocols are frequently foolproof, particularly when huge quantities of money flow through them in predictable patterns or clusters of transactions.

After Railgun, ZachXBT discovered that the funds were collected into certain addresses and transported to three exchanges: Huobi, Binance, and OKX, most likely in an attempt to convert the assets into fiat money.

A part of these assets have been frozen by at least one controlled exchange. Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao stated that his staff was successful in seizing 124 bitcoin ($2.6 million). According to ZachXBT, the facts of how much was moved to each exchange and how much the hackers were able to effectively launder assets through them remain unknown.

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