US announces new sanctions on North Korea-linked crypto wallet

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US officials recently stated that the 615 million dollar digital asset operation incident was related to the North Korean-backed hackers named Lazarus Group.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced new sanctions for the Lazarus Group’s Ethereum wallet, announced on Thursday.

According to crypto experts, the wallet in question contains digital assets related to the recent attack on Ronin Network, which is connected to the popular blockchain game Axie Infinity. Ether and USDC worth over $600 million are believed to have been stolen in the attack.

They exploited a vulnerability in the “Bridge” transfer tool

Research on the attack found that hackers created a “bridge” in blockchain systems that allows users to send digital assets from one crypto network to another. It turned out that they took advantage of a vulnerability in the tool called Bridges stand out as an increasingly popular tool in the rapidly growing world of “decentralized finance” (DeFi).

Blockchain analytics firm Elliptic noted in a blog post that the newly announced sanctions are aimed at preventing hackers from cashing in their holdings on American crypto Exchanges by prohibiting US individuals and institutions from transacting with the designated Ethereum account.

Another crypto research group called Chainanalysis pointed out that the sanctions imposed on Lazarus underline “how groups associated with North Korea can abuse crypto systems and the need for better security protocols in DeFi systems.”

Hackers named Lazarus, thought to be run by the North Korean State, are believed to be involved in several major cyberattacks, including the 2014 Sony Pictures and 2017 WannaCry ransomware attacks.

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