• Sun. Feb 25th, 2024

North Korea Hackers Suspected of New $35 Million Crypto Heist

North Korea Hackers Suspected of New  Million Crypto Heist

New York

North Korean hackers may be behind the theft of at least $35 million from a popular cryptocurrency service, multiple crypto-tracking experts told CNN on Tuesday.

It is the latest in a string of cryptocurrency firms linked to Pyongyang that are feared to be used to finance the North Korean regime’s nuclear and ballistic weapons programs.

Hackers have compromised the cryptocurrency accounts of some customers of Atomic Wallet, an Estonia-based company whose software claims to have 5 million users.

Atomic Wallet said on Saturday that “less than 1%” of its monthly users were affected by the hack. The firm did not say how much money was stolen or who was behind the hack. CNN has requested comment from the firm.

Some of the victims of the hack took to Twitter to beg the hackers to get their money back, posting their cryptocurrency addresses in case the hackers took pity on them.

North Korean hackers have stolen billions of dollars from banks and cryptocurrency firms over the past several years, providing an important source of revenue for the regime, according to reports from the United Nations and private institutions.

In the Atomic Wallet incident, London-based crypto-tracking firm Elliptic says the hackers’ money-laundering techniques and the tools they used were consistent with North Korean behavior.

An independent cryptocurrency tracker known as ZachXBT told CNN that North Korean hackers were responsible. The analyst said it was confirmed that the amount stolen could rise above $35 million as the investigation into the Atomic Wallet incident continues.

“This pattern is similar to what we saw in January when Harmony funds were laundered,” Zach XBT said, referring to the alleged laundering of $100 million stolen from a California-based firm.

FBI blames North Korea for hacking Harmony CNN reported how private investigators and South Korean intelligence operatives were able to return some of that money.

Preventing North Korean hacking and money laundering has become a top national security priority for the Biden administration. A White House official said last month that about half of North Korea’s missile program was financed through cyberattacks and cryptocurrency theft.

CNN has asked the FBI for comment on the Atomic Wallet hack.

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