• Norway has seized close to $6 million in crypto funds from a hacking group connected to North Korea.
• This is the largest amount of digital funds ever taken back by any region.
• The money stems from a hack on the crypto gaming platform Axie Infinity initiated by Lazarus in early 2022.
Norway Takes Back Stolen Crypto Funds From North Korea
Norway has seized close to $6 million in crypto funds from Lazarus, a digital currency hacking group stationed in the Asian country of North Korea. This is reportedly a new record set by any region, with more than $5.8 million in digital assets being taken back at press time.
Money Stems From Early 2022 Hack
The money stems from an early 2022 hack initiated by Lazarus on the crypto gaming platform Axie Infinity, resulting in over $625 million being stolen from the company. North Korea has denied any allegations that it has been involved in crypto theft, but this is only a drop in the bucket of what was initially stolen.
Norwegian Accolades for Efforts
Norway is garnering praise for its efforts to take back stolen digital currency and fund its nuclear program. Senior public prosecutor Marianne Bender commented: „This is money that can be used to finance the North Korean regime and their nuclear weapons program.“ Aleksander Larsen, founder of Sky Mavis – based in Vietnam but of Norwegian descent – thanked police officers and Binance (the world’s largest digital currency exchange) for their help in retrieving the funds.
North Korea Long Involved In Crypto Thefts
It has been noted for years that North Korea has been trying to make off with illicit crypto funds across Asia, Europe, and North America. A recent report states that North Korean hackers have tried targeting government agencies and financial institutions around the world with sophisticated phishing attacks using cryptocurrency as an incentive or reward for access into systems or data theft operations.
Binance Responds To Allegations
Binance released a statement responding to these allegations saying: „When we learn of bad actors on our platform, we intervene and take appropriate action including freezing funds and working with law enforcement to return funds to their rightful owner(s).“