• Norway has seized $5.8 million in crypto funds from North Korean hacking group Lazarus.
• The money was stolen during an early 2022 hack on the Axie Infinity gaming platform.
• Binance and Norwegian law enforcement were thanked for assisting with the retrieval of funds.
Norway Seizes Crypto Funds From North Korea
The European nation of Norway has taken back approximately $5.8 million in digital currency funds from Lazarus, a digital currency hacking group situated in North Korea. This is reportedly a new record set by any region, as the money stems from an early 2022 hack on the crypto gaming platform Axie Infinity which resulted in over $625 million being stolen.
North Korea’s Attempts at Crypto Theft
North Korea has long been accused of stealing digital currency to fund its nuclear program, though it denies any involvement in crypto theft. Even considering that this amount is just a small fraction of the overall sum stolen, Norway is garnering praise for its efforts to take back these funds nonetheless. Senior public prosecutor Marianne Bender commented: „This is money that can be used to finance the North Korean regime and their nuclear weapons program.“
Gratitude for Norwegian Law Enforcement and Binance
Sky Mavis, owner of Axie Infinity, issued gratitude to both Norwegian law enforcement and Binance – one of the world’s largest digital currency exchanges – for aiding their efforts in retrieving the stolen funds. A spokesperson for Binance responded saying: „When we learn of bad actors on our platform we intervene and take appropriate action including freezing funds and working with law enforcement to return funds to their rightful owner(s).“
North Korea’s Long History With Crypto Theft
It has been stated many times that North Korea has long been attempting to gain access to illicit crypto monies through targets located in Asia, Europe, and North America alike. A recent report suggested that hackers associated with North Korea have managed to steal more than $1 billion in digital currency since 2019 alone – making this recent seizure minuscule in comparison but no less noteworthy given how difficult it typically is for governments to recover stolen crypto assets from groups such as Lazarus..
Overall, Norway’s successful recovery of nearly $6 million dollars worth of cryptocurrency marks a major milestone when it comes to taking back ill-gotten gains from cybercriminals sponsored by foreign nations such as North Korea. It remains unclear if more similar actions will be taken against other regions or entities utilizing cryptocurrencies for malicious intent but this certainly sets an example worthy of being followed moving forward into the future