The US Justice Department has seized almost $500,000 in cryptocurrencies and digital payments resulting from North Korean hackers’ ransomware assaults. According to Lisa Monaco, Deputy Attorney General, US authorities have started paying back money to the appropriate victims.
Last year, North Korean hackers encrypted the computer systems of healthcare organizations in Kansas and Colorado in order to target them. Later, the FBI was able to investigate the situation thanks to a complaint made by the anonymous Kansas facility, and they discovered a brand-new ransomware variant that the North Koreans were using.
According to CNN, US authorities confiscated cryptocurrencies and ransom money from “China-based money-launderers working for the North Koreans.” The announcement followed a warning from US authorities that North Korea intended to use ransomware to temporarily impair health care.
The FBI, Secret Service, and Treasury Department were able to follow the cryptocurrency transfers made by the criminal organizations, including the associated money that violated US sanctions, which allowed them to seize half a million dollars.
The FBI is having a harder time retrieving ransom payments made by US firms to attackers in Russia, Eastern Europe, and other places, according to Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco, who asked more organizations to step up their efforts to report similar ransomware incidents to them.
Hackers with support from North Korea are well recognized for exploiting weak crypto systems and stealing hundreds of millions of digital assets. The Lazarus Group, the notorious hacking organization funded by Pyongyang, is thought to have been behind the $620 million breach of Axie Infinity’s Ronin bridge in March, which is what sparked the most recent issue with the exploit of Harmony’s Horizon Bridge.
Over 40% of the $100 million worth of ETH that was stolen from Harmony, as previously reported by Cryptopotato, has been moved to a Tornado Cash mixer.
According to a recent Coincub study, Pyongyang’s cyber army has 7,000 members and has been involved in at least 15 cases of cryptocurrency crime, with revenues pegged at $1.59 billion.