Atomic Wallet hackers turn to OFAC-sanctioned Garantex: Elliptic

Illicit money obtained from the $35 million Atomic Wallet breach has once again started circulating, with the sanctioned Russian-based digital currency exchange Garantex reportedly being the most recent to handle the stolen crypto.

On June 13th, Elliptic, a blockchain security and compliance company, provided an update on the stolen Atomic Wallet funds. It is believed that the North Korean hacking group, the Lazarus Group, was responsible for the attack and has used the Russian-based, sanctioned crypto exchange Garantex to launder the stolen funds.

In a Twitter post, the company stated that there had been a major and successful collaboration between Elliptic and numerous exchange partners to freeze the stolen cryptocurrency. Unfortunately, Lazarus has now discovered alternative ways to exchange their assets for Bitcoin (BTC).

In April 2022, the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) imposed sanctions on Garantex and the Russian Hydra dark web marketplace.

Garantex, which was established in late 2019 and initially registered in Estonia, shifted the majority of its operations to Moscow, according to the Treasury Department then.

“An analysis of existing Garantex transactions revealed that more than $100 million in transactions are linked to illegal actors and darknet markets,” the report stated.

Earlier this month, Cointelegraph reported that the proceeds of illicit activities were being routed through mixer, a service often utilized by the Lazarus Group.

Elliptic stated that the money taken from Garantex by the intruders is still being disguised through the blender.

In May 2022, the Treasury Department imposed sanctions on (formerly due to its utilization by North Korea to facilitate its malevolent cyber activities and laundering of illegally acquired virtual currency.

The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has imposed sanctions on over-the-counter traders who exchanged cryptocurrency for the benefit of North Korea’s Lazarus group.

On the 3rd of June, a breach of security in the Atomic Wallet system led to the theft of up to $35 million worth of digital assets from multiple user accounts.

Five days after, Atomic declared that it had employed blockchain security and analyst firm Chainalysis as the main incident investigator. Cointelegraph contacted Chainalysis for an update on the inquiry but a representative said they couldn’t comment on the Atomic Wallet incident.

The infamous North Korean hacking group has been connected to multiple major cryptocurrency breaches in the past 12 months, such as the Harmony Bridge hack and the Ronin Bridge hack.

Magazine: Huawei NFTs, Toyota’s Hackathon, North Korea versus Blockchain: Asia Express.

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