- Elliptic states that it provided intelligence about illicit deposits to Huobi and Binance that prompted the platform to freeze accounts.
- Last month, the FBI confirmed that the North Korean state-sponsored Lazarus Group was behind the June 2022 $100M Horizon bridge hack.
On Tuesday, leading crypto exchanges Binance and Huobi froze $1.4 million in crypto linked with the Harmony Bridge exploit, per a report from blockchain analytics firm Elliptic. Earlier this year, the Fedeal Bureau of Investigation(FBI) confirmed that the North Korea state-sponsored Lazarus Group was behind the $100M Horizon bridge hack in June 2022.
In its blog post, Elliptic states that it provided intelligence about illicit deposits to Huobi and Binance that prompted the platform to freeze accounts.
“The stolen funds remained dormant until recently when our investigators began to see them funneled through complex chains of transactions to exchanges. By promptly notifying these platforms about these illicit deposits, they were able to suspend these accounts and freeze funds” the blog reads.
In the blog post, Simone Maini, Elliptic CEO, said: “Today, money laundering was detected, and stolen funds linked to North Korea were frozen in real-time. As an industry, we have the power and responsibility to prevent digital assets from becoming a haven for money launderers and sanctions evaders and ensure that they are a force for good.”
This instance is, however, not the first time Binnace and Huobi have worked together to tackle issues arising after an exploit. Last month, security teams at Binance and Huobi joined hands to freeze and recover 121 Bitcoin (BTC) from hackers behind the Harmony bridge exploit. The move to recover funds came after Lazarus group in January made attempts to move stolen funds worth $63 million from the Harmony bridge hack.
The latest development also comes amid an Elliptic report that alleged that North Korea’s Lazarus Group had rebranded the sanctioned crypto mixer Blender to a single crypto-mixing service called Sinbad. The report stated that the Lazarus Group has laundered about $100 million in stolen Bitcoin since October 2022 through ‘Sinbad.’
North Korean hackers have been tied with several crypto exploits in recent months. Hackers linked with North Korea have stolen an estimated 1.5 trillion won ($1.2 billion) in crypto from around the world since 2017, according to findings by South Korea’s main spy agency, the National Intelligence Service (NIS).