Billion-Dollar Hack: Atomic Wallet Users’ Funds Exceed $100 Million in Losses, Traced Back to Notorious Lazarus Group
Blockchain analysis firm Elliptic recently disclosed that a comprehensive examination of more than 5,500 wallets owned by Atomic Wallet users revealed staggering losses surpassing $100 million. The investigation conducted by Elliptic further linked this hack to the infamous Lazarus Group, a North Korean hacker collective notorious for pilfering over $2 billion in cryptocurrencies. According to Elliptic’s findings, the laundering techniques employed to disguise the stolen assets bear striking resemblances to the group’s previously observed modus operandi.
In its report published on June 13, Elliptic highlighted its collaboration with investigators and exchanges worldwide, successfully tracing and freezing over $1 million of the stolen funds. This proactive measure forced the hackers to adapt their strategies, leading them to utilize Garantex, a Russian crypto exchange operating under sanctions, to facilitate the money laundering process.
On June 3, Atomic Wallet confirmed the security breach affecting its users’ wallets. A subsequent update on June 5 clarified that less than 1% of the platform’s monthly active users were impacted by the incident. However, since then, the self-proclaimed decentralized wallet provider has remained conspicuously silent, leaving its user base frustrated and yearning for updates and pertinent information regarding the incident.
As of the time of reporting, Atomic Wallet has yet to respond to CryptoSlate’s request for comment, deepening the concerns and uncertainties surrounding the situation.
A curious development emerged when Coinbase director Conor Grogan took to Twitter, revealing that the exploiter behind the Atomic Wallet hack burned approximately $40,000 worth of Ethereum through three transactions. Grogan observed that the North Group, believed to be responsible for the breach, created a series of flawed contracts and deposited $40,000 into them for unknown reasons. These contracts, designated as 0x/null contracts, effectively prohibit any withdrawals from them, leaving experts puzzled about the hackers’ intentions behind their creation.
The motive behind the hackers’ creation of these perplexing contracts remains unclear as the investigation unfolds, leaving the cryptocurrency community on edge and raising questions about the evolving tactics of cybercriminals.