North Korea’s Crypto Heist Seized by Norwegian Police, How Did They Do It?
The National Authority for Investigation and Prosecution of Economic and Environmental Crime of Norway has announced the seizure of approximately $5.84 million in cryptocurrency, marking the largest crypto seizure in Norway’s history.
The confiscation was made in connection with an investigation into the digital attack against the company Sky Mavis and the popular blockchain game Axie Infinity, which saw roughly $620 million in cryptocurrency stolen in March 2022.
The FBI has identified the North Korean hacker group Lazarus as being behind the attack and subsequent money laundering operation.
The hackers used highly sophisticated methods to launder the money, but the agency and its international partners were able to follow the money laundering process around the clock and make it more difficult for the hackers to continue stealing funds.
“We work with FBI specialists on tracking cryptocurrency,” said First State Attorney Marianne Bender, praising the results of the cooperation.
The aim of the money launderers is to get the cryptocurrency out into other forms of currency that can be used in the physical world.
As explained by Bender, North Korea uses ill-gotten money in order to support its nuclear weapons program. Therefore, he has stressed that it is important to track cryptocurrencies and try to stop North Korean cybercriminals from cashing out their ill-gotten funds.
The unit will continue to follow the money laundering process of the hackers and try to stop and confiscate money they try to withdraw in the physical world in the future. The seizure originates from money stolen from the game Axie Infinity, and North Korean authorities will work with Sky Mavis to ensure that the aggrieved parties get the money back to the greatest extent possible.
The police agency is pleased with its cooperation with the FBI and the U.S. Department of Justice in this case, which shows the effectiveness of international collaboration in the fight against digital crime.