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North Korean hackers behind a major crypto coup

At the end of March, Axie Infinity, an online computer game where users pay to start collecting some kind of monster in order to make money in cryptocurrency, was attacked.

The Vietnamese company Sky Mavis behind the game has announced that the hackers, whose identity has not been revealed, have come across a coin worth about SEK 5.7 billion. The attack was targeting a so-called bridge where users transfer coins from the game to the Ethereum crypto platform.

The US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has identified two groups responsible: Lazarus and APT38, both of which are linked to North Korea. Lazarus was first mentioned in 2014, when film company Sony Pictures Entertainment was hacked for what was interpreted as revenge for the satirical film The Interview, which was mocked by North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.

The US Treasury is sanctioning groups targeting the crypto wallet where the stolen goods landed.

North Korea is one of the world’s most isolated countries and is said to have found a major source of income in hacker attacks. In recent years, it has been estimated that North Korean hackers have stolen a total of billions in various attacks, especially on platforms that use cryptocurrency.

According to a US defense report released last year, North Korea has a special organization for cyber warfare, in which about 6,000 people work in different countries to achieve the goals of the regime.