According to recent data, it has been revealed that the North Korean hacking collective known as the Lazarus Group holds an astonishing $47 million in cryptocurrency. The majority of these digital assets are held in Bitcoin (BTC). This information was collated and analyzed by Dune Analytics, a subsidiary of 21Shares, and it includes data on wallets associated with the Lazarus Group.
Specifically, the wallets linked to the Lazarus Group currently hold approximately $42.5 million worth of Bitcoin, $1.9 million in Ether (ETH), $1.1 million in BNB, and an additional $640,000 in stablecoins, primarily Binance USD (BUSD).
However, it is worth noting that this is a decrease in the amount of cryptocurrency held by the group compared to September 6. At that time, the group held a total of $86 million in digital assets. This decrease in holdings can be attributed to the Stake.com hack, in which the Lazarus Group was reported to be involved.
The Dune dashboard has identified a total of 295 wallets believed to be owned by the hacking group. These wallets were flagged by the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) as belonging to the Lazarus Group.
It is interesting to note that the Lazarus Group does not hold any privacy coins such as Monero (XMR), Dash (DASH), or Zcash (ZEC). These privacy coins are typically considered harder to trace and provide increased anonymity for users.
Despite the decrease in cryptocurrency holdings, the Lazarus Group’s crypto wallets remain highly active. The most recent transaction involving these wallets was recorded on September 20. It is also important to highlight that the group’s actual holdings are likely to be significantly higher than the reported figures. 21.co, the parent company of 21Shares, stated that the reported estimates are based on publicly available information and represent a lower-bound estimation.
In recent news, it was reported that the Lazarus Group was responsible for an attack on the cryptocurrency exchange CoinEx, resulting in a loss of at least $55 million. The group has also been linked to other high-profile hacks, including Alphapo, CoinsPaid, and Atomic Wallet, which collectively amounted to over $200 million in stolen funds in 2023.
However, it seems that North Korea-linked crypto thefts are declining overall. Chainalysis, a blockchain analysis company, reported an 80% decrease in crypto thefts by North Korea-linked hackers in 2023 compared to the previous year. As of mid-September, these groups had stolen a total of $340.4 million in cryptocurrency, significantly lower than the record $1.65 billion stolen in 2022.
Amidst these developments, U.S. federal authorities have issued warnings regarding the Lazarus Group’s potential attacks on the healthcare and public health sector entities in the United States. These warnings highlight the significant risk posed by the hacking collective.
In conclusion, the Lazarus Group’s holdings of $47 million in cryptocurrency, primarily in Bitcoin, highlight the group’s continued involvement in cybercrimes. While their overall holdings may be higher than reported, it is encouraging to see a decline in North Korea-linked crypto thefts. However, the constant threat of attacks by groups like the Lazarus Group remains a significant concern for the cybersecurity and cryptocurrency communities.