Theft in the game Axie Infinity: FBI: North Korea is behind the theft of a million cryptos

Theft in Axie Infinity Game
FBI: North Korea is behind the theft of a million cryptos

North Korea employs around 6,000 hackers, according to a US military report. They allegedly stole around $400 million worth of cryptocurrencies through cyberattacks in 2021 alone. Now they seem to be striking again in a digital avatar game.

According to US authorities, North Korean hackers were responsible for stealing cryptocurrencies worth hundreds of millions of euros last month. The FBI said two hacker groups “connected” to North Korea named “Lazarus Group and APT38” are “responsible” for the digital heist in the online game Axie Infinity.

According to this, they stole cryptocurrencies worth around $620 million (€570 million) during the attack about two weeks ago. It was one of the biggest digital heists of all time.

The Lazarus Group rose to prominence in 2014 when it was accused of hacking into film production company Sony Pictures Entertainment in revenge for the satirical movie The Interview. The film satirizes North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Hackers operate from Belarus and China

North Korea’s hacking program dates back to at least the mid-1990s, according to a 2020 US military report. North Korea today employs around 6,000 hackers who are believed to be organized into a unit called Office 121.

They therefore operate from several countries, including Belarus, China, India, Malaysia and Russia. North Korean hackers allegedly stole around $400 million worth of cryptocurrencies through cyberattacks last year, data platform Chainalysis reported in January.

In the game “Axie Infinity”, players participate in battles with colorful blob-shaped avatars. These avatars are non-fungible tokens (NFTs), a type of unique digital artwork that can be sold, rented, and farmed. Users can exchange in-game rewards for cryptocurrencies or cash. According to the maker, the game had 2.5 million daily active users before the attack.

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