FBI says North Korea-linked Lazarus Group was responsible for $41 million theft on Stake
The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation said North Korea affiliated Lazarus Group was responsible for a $41 million theft this week from crypto-based sports betting platform Stake.com.
The theft took place on or about Sept. 4, the FBI said in a statement on Wednesday.
“These same DPRK actors are also responsible for several other high-profile international virtual currency heists,” the FBI said.
The group has stolen more than $200 million so far this year, including $60 million of virtual currency from payments firms Alphapo and CoinsPaid in July and about $100 million of virtual currency from Atomic Wallet in June, according to the FBI’s statement.
The Block reported the suspicious outflows on Monday across Ethereum, Polygon and BNB Chain. Stake did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Ron Hammond, director of government relations at the Blockchain Association, said the threat, while largely a cybersecurity issue, is a growing problem for Republicans and Democrats alike.
Lawmakers on both sides, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., have honed in on combatting money laundering and stopping “crypto-facilitated crime.” Warren and others introduced a bill called the Crypto-Asset National Security Enhancement and Enforcement Act, or CANSEE, in July to tighten existing rules aimed at combating money laundering and sanctions evasion by making specific how they apply to decentralized finance.
“Lazarus Group and other bad actors hacking protocols is a rising concern among lawmakers on Capitol Hill and has led to legislation like Warren/Marshall and CANSEE and even comments from Biden himself,” Hammond said Thursday on X, the social media site formerly known as Twitter.
The FBI warned crypto operators on Aug. 23 that entities with ties to the Democratic People;s Republic of Korea may to cash out bitcoin worth more than $40 million.
The Lazarus Group has targeted the blockchain sector by using spearphishing methods and malicious software to steal crypto. In 2022, Chainalysis attributed $1.7 billion in stolen crypto to the Lazarus group.
“Its activities, as well as those of other DPRK threat actors such as the fraudulent IT workers highlighted in today’s designation, present serious threats to the public safety and financial systems of countries around the world,” the blockchain analysis firm said back in April.