FBI Accuses North Korea’s Lazarus Group of Recent Stake.com Hack

Posted on: September 8, 2023, 02:33h. 

Last updated on: September 8, 2023, 02:33h.

The FBI believes it has identified the responsible party behind the recent $40-million hack of online gambling platform Stake.com. Unsurprisingly, the longest-running state-run cyberterrorist group, Lazarus Group from North Korea, has been named as the culprit.

Students at the Mangyongdae Revolutionary School, in Pyongyang, North Korea, work on computers
Students at the Mangyongdae Revolutionary School, in Pyongyang, North Korea, work on computers. Some may become hackers with the state-led Lazarus Group. (Image: Associated Press)

On September 6, the FBI released a statement detailing their findings after an extensive investigation. The focus was on uncovering the individuals responsible for the attack, and it led them straight to the notorious Lazarus Group.

This cybercriminal organization has gained infamy for its suspected ties to North Korea, officially known as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). The Stake.com attack is just one in a series of cybercrimes aimed at generating funds for the regime led by Kim Jong Un.

Lazarus Group Continues Their Tactics

The FBI has provided a comprehensive list of locations where the stolen money ended up, including the Bitcoin, Ethereum, Binance Smart Chain, and Polygon networks. As a response, they are urging blockchain monitors and cryptocurrency exchanges to closely monitor the addresses associated with the hack and refrain from any transactions involving them.

The FBI also advises companies to review the cybersecurity advisory issued on TraderTraitor, a sophisticated malware program that is currently active. Additionally, they should thoroughly examine the blockchain records linked to the mentioned cryptocurrency addresses involved in the Stake.com attack. Vigilance is key, and direct transactions originating from these addresses should be avoided at all costs.

One of the major advantages of cryptocurrency is its decentralized nature, where no single entity or group controls all transactions. However, monitoring agents, miners, and other stakeholders can track activity and help prevent money from being moved between wallets or withdrawn.

Ed Craven, the founder and CEO of Stake.com, downplayed the significance of the hack. After the news broke, he reassured users on social media that their funds were safe and that only a “small portion” of the company’s reserves were affected by the theft.

North Korea’s Affinity for Hacking

The FBI has also attributed the cyberattacks on Alphapo, Coinspaid, and Atomic Wallet to Lazarus Group. These malicious acts have resulted in a total loss of $200 million in funds for these platforms just this year.

Alphapo experienced a significant withdrawal of over $65 million on July 23. Similarly, Coinspaid, a payment processor, fell victim to social engineering tactics in late July, resulting in a loss of more than $37 million. Atomic Wallet users saw $100 million vanish in June due to a mysterious security breach.

Last April, the Ronin Network, an Ethereum sidechain associated with the crypto-based game Axie Infinity, suffered an attack resulting in a loss of $622 million. The US Treasury investigation traced the incident back to Lazarus Group.

Latin America has become a prime target for hackers, experiencing five banking Trojan attacks per minute, according to Kaspersky Labs. Cryptocurrencies are engaged in an arms race against AI-powered scams, wherein North Korean hackers have allegedly stolen $2 billion in cryptocurrencies since 2018.

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