• Sun. Aug 20th, 2023

$12M Laundered by Atomic Wallet Hackers Using a Decentralized Exchange

Jul 21, 2023
$12M Laundered by Hackers Exchange
Marcel Bich

According to PeckShield experts, the attackers of the Atomic Wallet cryptocurrency wallet have allegedly laundered at least $12 million in cryptocurrencies.

They claim that the hackers attempted to hide their identities by making a large number of transactions between wallets, converted the cryptocurrency using the Avalanche Bridge cross-chain bridge, and then traded ether (ETH) for bitcoin (BTC) via the GMX decentralized exchange.

The Reports

According to Taylor Monahan, the creator of MyCrypto, thousands of individuals are allegedly laundering cryptocurrency in North Korea. She makes her assumption on the premise that laundry operations last a full day and go on virtually nonstop. In addition to laundering, Monahan observed that the hackers linked to Beijing also used a number of smart contracts to disguise the surveillance of transactions at the same time.

According to a researcher going by the handle @ZachXBT, the North Korean organization Lazarus is responsible for the Atomic Wallet attack. Both claim that “very strange transfers” that are unique to this organization in the cryptocurrency money laundering process demonstrate the North Korean hackers’ culpability.

Lazarus’ tracks are distinct from those of other hackers, according to Monahan. The organization largely relies on cross-chain bridges and is unconcerned even if their attempts to launder bitcoin are discovered.

Monahan did not, however, elaborate on the key distinction between Lazarus’s operations and those of other hackers. Researchers claim that by the end of June, 800 Atomic Wallet customers’ bitcoin had been successfully laundered by hackers. Although the identities of the websites and the scope of the banning were withheld, Monahan alleges that centralized exchanges were able to freeze a large amount of stolen cryptocurrency.

The Consequences of the Attack

The damages from the Atomic Wallet attack, reported by blockchain company Elliptic, were at least $100 million. By using the unofficial Russian cryptocurrency exchange Garantex, the attackers were successful in laundering some of the stolen bitcoin, considering the analytics. 

The wallets for Binance, Bitget, and JustSwap received hundreds of thousands more in connection with the attack. Uncertainty surrounds the exchanges’ ability to prevent illicit actors from using the cryptocurrency as money laundering.