• Norway’s economy crimes unit, Økokrim, seized NOK 60 million ($5.9 million) in cryptocurrency as part of their investigation into the Sky Mavis cyber attack.
• The funds are allegedly linked to North Korea’s intelligence agency and Lazarus, a hacking group based in the country.
• The Økokrim is partnering with FBI specialists to track stolen assets via cryptocurrency transactions and prevent them from being used for criminal activities.
Norway Seizes Millions in Crypto
Norway’s economy crimes unit, Økokrim, has successfully seized NOK 60 million (or $5.9 million) in cryptocurrency as part of their ongoing investigation into the Sky Mavis cyber attack that occurred in March 2022.
Alleged North Korean Link
The successful seizure of the cryptocurrency has put a significant spanner in the works of the hackers’ laundering process, which is allegedly linked to Lazarus, a North-Korea based hacking group according to a February 2023 report. Moreover, it is believed that North Korea’s primary intelligence agency, the Reconnaissance General Bureau, is behind up to $1 billion worth of crypto theft via teams – Lazarus, Andariel, and Kimsuky.
In order to prevent any further criminal activity with these funds an international collaboration between Økokrim and FBI specialists has been established with the aim of tracking stolen assets via cryptocurrency transactions across time zones. Marianne Bender, first states attorney for Økokrim has emphasized how this case demonstrates that authorities have the skills necessary to follow money on blockchain platforms even when criminals try to outsmart them with advanced tactics.
Økokrim will be communicating with Sky Mavis for compensating victims of Axie Infinity hack maximumly possible restitution but they also have intel on what hackers are looking for beyond just cashing out cryptocurrencies – funneling funds into North Korea’s nuclear weapons program which makes this investigation even more crucial.
Fighting Cybercrime Globally
This development sets an example for global collaboration in fighting against cybercriminals who use profiteering through these kinds of attacks as their modus operandi. With this latest breakthrough authorities will work towards preventing stolen assets from being used for any illegal activities while ensuring that victims receive proper compensation wherever possible.