Notorious cybercriminal group Lazarus seems to be moving stolen Bitcoin after siphoning over $600 million from crypto protocols and users in 2023.
The North Korean-funded hacker organization withdrew some 27.3 Bitcoin (BTC) worth an estimated $1.2 million from an unidentified crypto mixer. Per Arkham Intelligence data, Lazarus cashed out its ill-gotten BTC over two transactions on Jan. 8.
A Lazarus wallet received 10 BTC valued at $440,000 and 17.3 BTC worth $762,000 from a contract address. Shortly thereafter, the receiving address transferred 3.3 BTC to another address holding just under $300,000 in Bitcoin.
The hacker group holds $79 million in illicit wealth in wallets labeled by Arkham. Bitcoin, Ether (ETH), and Binance’s BNB comprised the top three assets held by Lazarus, which reportedly orchestrated a third of all crypto hacks last year.
Crypto users throw their cryptocurrencies into mixers or tumblers to obfuscate the origin of the assets. Bad actors often leverage the process to cover their blockchain footprints following a hack or an exploit.
In the past, Lazarus sent stolen digital assets to services like Tornado Cash, Sinbad, and Blender.io. However, authorities in the U.S. have blacklisted some of these platforms and even levied charges against their creators.
Tornado Cash developer trio Alexey Pertsev, Roman Semenov, and Roman Storm currently face money laundering and conspiracy charges in the U.S. and the Netherlands. All three individuals deny wrongdoing, and industry proponents argue that open-source protocol inventors should not be held liable for third-party applications.
District Judge Katherine Polk Failla threw out a lawsuit against Uniswap, which sought damages and restitution from the decentralized exchange due to losses incurred from trading scam tokens.
The ruling might be regarded as a boon by crypto participants and defendants battling defi-related charges in courthouses across the globe, although a district court judge sided with the U.S. Treasury Department in a lawsuit that involves Coinbase and sanctions imposed on crypto mixer Tornado Cash.