The US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has announced new sanctions against a cryptocurrency blender dubbed Blender.io, which happens to be used by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).
OFAC sanctions coin mixer
In the official press release, OFAC revealed that North Korean hackers used Blender to launder digital assets and conduct state-sponsored cyber attacks.
The site was reportedly involved in the high-profile security breach on the Ronin Bridge of Axe Infinity involved and processed over $20.5 million of illicit proceeds out of a total of $620 million drained. Since its inception five years ago, it has also seen the transfer of Bitcoin valued at more than $500 million.
Treasury Department Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian E. Nelson stated:
“Today, for the first time ever, the Treasury sanctioned a virtual currency mixer. Virtual currency mixers that facilitate illicit transactions pose a threat to US national security interests. We take action against DPRK’s illicit financial activities and will not allow state-sponsored theft and its money laundering opportunities to go unanswered.”
Hackers sponsored by North Korea
The latest development emerged two weeks after the FBI issued a statement saying that DPRK-affiliated cyber actors APT38, also known as the Lazarus Group, were behind the Ronin Bridge attack.
OFAC had several associated with the attack Ethereum-Addresses sanctioned. The organization’s investigation also identified malicious ransomware groups with ties to Russia, including Trickbot, Conti, Ryuk, Sodinokibi, and Gandcrab.
Prior to the Ronin attack, the US think tank Center for a New American Security (CNAS) had indicated that the Pyongyang-led cybercrime group would “continue to adjust its cybercrime tactics” to target financial and digital asset companies -Sector to meet. The Lazarus Group had reportedly withdrawn about $300 million worth of crypto from Singapore-based exchange KuCoin in 2020.
In another investigation, Chainalysis revealed that North Korean cybercriminals stole nearly $400 million worth of crypto in 2021 alone. The malicious entities collected the funds after attacking crypto exchanges and investment firms.
Featured image courtesy of AA News
Source: Crypto News Deutsch