The US Treasury Department has recently added three Ethereum wallet addresses to a list of sanctions reportedly tied to the hacker group behind the theft of more than $600 million in cryptocurrencies from the NFT game Axie Infinity’s Ronin sidechain.
The Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) added three Ethereum addresses in connection with the North Korea’s Lazarus Group’s Specially Designated Nationals restrictions in a Friday update. The group has been targeted by US officials, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation or FBI and the CISA or Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, for allegedly stealing more than 173,600 Ether (ETH) and 25.5 million USD Coin (USDC) from the Ronin sidechain in March this year, when the tokens were worth over $600 million.
Action taken to prevent Ronin hackers from evading sanctions
The addresses were added to the list in an effort to prevent North Korea from circumventing penalties imposed by the US and the UN, according to a tweet from the US government organization on Friday. At least one of the wallet addresses linked to the Ronin hackers transmitted money to crypto mixer services like Tornado Cash, according to blockchain data.
OFAC added 3 virtual currency wallet addresses to the SDN Listing for Lazarus Group. The DPRK has relied on illicit activities like cybercrime to generate revenue while trying to evade US & UN sanctions. Transacting w/ these risks exposure to US sanctions. https://t.co/GMNZkwe1IA
— Treasury Department (@USTreasury) April 22, 2022
North Korea stole nearly $400 million in cryptocurrencies through cyberattacks in 2021, according to Chainalysis, thus the Ronin theft could be the country’s greatest to far. Illicit funds related to hacking organizations in the secluded nation were mostly held in Ethereum (58%), Bitcoin (20%), and other tokens (22%).
The addition of ETH addresses was the most recent action enforced by OFAC to identify digital assets as a mechanism for sanctioned states to get funds. The government department announced in April that it had blacklisted Russia-based darknet marketplace Hydra and digital currency exchange Garantex, and crypto mining firm BitRiver, for possible links to payments from ransomware attacks and other cybercrimes.
Recently, as TheCoinRise reported, the crypto exchange giant Binance helped Ronin Network to recover $5.8 million lost in the hack.