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Investigation Into Stolen $100 Million Crypto Uncovers Suspect

Investigations into the theft of over $100 million stolen from the Horizon Bridge are pointing to a group of North Korean hackers known as the Lazarus Group.

Last week, about $100 million worth of Ether, Tether (USDT), Wrapped Bitcoin (WBTC), and BNB was stolen from the Horizon bridge and converted into 85,837 ETH through decentralized
exchange Uniswap.

This incident, according to the developers, Harmony affected its Ethereum and Binance chain bridge.

The company also disclosed that the incident, which was discovered on Wednesday was linked to a single individual account, suspected to be that of the culprit.

In a tweet posted on Thursday, Harmony said that the company has commenced investigations into the incident to unravel the identity of the culprit.

Harmony’s Horizon Bridge, allows users to transfer their crypto assets from one blockchain to another.

Harmony added that it had stopped the Horizon bridge to prevent further transactions.

Harmony’s bridge for bitcoin was unaffected.

“This incident is a humbling and unfortunate reminder of how our work is paramount to the future of this space, and how much of our work remains ahead of us,” the blog post said.

“Ongoing investigations present a challenge of what information is allowed to be shared with the public, but we will continue to provide updates with the latest information as soon as we can share.”

A popular stolen digital asset firm, Elliptic Enterprises, which deals with the investigation of stolen assets has been a part of the investigation to unravel the identity of the hackers.

Elliptic Enterprises disclosed that the nature of the hack was very much similar to the one used in laundering assets by the hacking group.

“There are strong indications that North Korea’s Lazarus Group may be responsible for this theft, based on the nature of the hack and the subsequent laundering of the stolen funds.” the
firm said.

Elliptic Enterprises had even given a details report of how the hackers carried out the heist.

 

“Firstly, hackers attacked the username and password credentials of the employees of Harmony in the Asia Pacific region. As a result, the group was able to breach the security system of  the protocol.

“The hacking group employed automated laundering services after gaining control of the protocol. Thus, the stolen funds were moved during the night hours. Furthermore, Elliptic also told that the hackers have transferred about 40% of the stolen $100 million funds to a Tornado Cash mixer. Tornado Cash is already known as an aiding tool in the movement of stolen funds.”
This remark by Elliptic Enterprises has spurred criticisms regarding North Korea.

Earlier this year, the United Nations argued that millions of dollars were stolen from North Korea in Bitcoin.

The UN claimed that such funds are used to find the country’s trials of its nuclear projects.

Chainalysis also reports that this recent attack on harmony is the eighth cyber-attack that can be linked to North Korea, pegging the loss at $1 billion.

As part of desperate attempts to recoup their loss, Harmony had even committed $1 million for the return of the funds that were stolen from the Horizon Bridge.

“We are providing one FINAL opportunity for the actor(s) to return stolen assets with anonymity.

Our FINAL term is below.

“Our FINAL term: Retain $10M and return the remaining stolen amount. In exchange, Harmony will cease its investigation.4/ To the responsible actor: We are giving you until Monday, July 4th, 23:00 GMT to initiate communication.”
” To associates of the actor: There is no honor amongst thieves. We are offering you $10M for information leading to the return of stolen funds.6/ Return stolen funds to ETH address
0xd6ddd996b2d5b7db22306654fd548ba2a58693ac.

For information leading to the arrest of the criminal(s), e-mail us at [email protected]/ Harmony has sent one last transaction to the
primary wallet holding stolen funds as an additional effort to communicate.” it said in a tweet.

It was also learned that the hackers have laundered about $39 million worth of cryptocurrency through Tornado Cash – a cryptocurrency mixing service that is typically used by cybercriminals since the incident happened.

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