Chainalysis, a US business that said it collaborated with the FBI to claw back the stolen money, reported that the FBI and private investigators had confiscated around $30 million worth of bitcoin that was taken by hackers with links to the North Korean government from a video game company in March.
The $30 million that was recovered is only a small portion of the corresponding amount of more than $600 million that the FBI believes North Korean hackers stole from Sky Mavis in the first place. Sky Mavis is a company with an office in Vietnam that creates a well-known video game that allows players to earn virtual money through playing the game.
According to Erin Plante, Chainalysis‘ senior director of investigations, the confiscation is still a milestone for law enforcement, and investigators are actively working to retrieve part of the remaining wealth. Despite this, the seizure is still a significant achievement for law enforcement.
“We estimate that so far in 2022, North Korea-linked groups have stolen approximately $1 billion of cryptocurrency from DeFi protocols.”
According to the article, elite hacker groups such as the North Korea Lazarus Group are believed to be responsible for a significant portion of the theft, since the group is alleged to have stolen an estimated one billion dollars worth of crypto so far in the year 2022.
It is possible for investigators equipped with the necessary tools to track the money and learn about a cybercrime organization’s money-laundering operations. According to Chainalysis, this is impossible via more conventional means of exchanging funds since laundering money often entails complex webs of shell corporations and financial institutions in countries that may not cooperate.