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Binance recovered USD 5.8M (around PHP 300M) linked to Axie Infinity hack!

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The world's largest cryptocurrency exchange has retrieved nearly USD 6M (around PHP 300M) from a North Korean group claimed to be behind the grand digital heist.
Binance recovered USD 5.8M (around PHP 300M) linked to Axie Infinity hack!
File photo: Axie Infinity

Binance's founder confirmed that the loot was spread across 86 accounts

About a month ago, Ronin Network announced that hackers stole cryptocurrency worth over USD 600 million (around PHP 31.4B) from a digital ledger used by players of Axie Infinity. They also explained that most of the hacked funds are still in the hacker's wallet. 

Back then, the company is still investigating the hack but said that hackers got hold of private "keys" to withdraw digital funds. 

Now, Binance allegedly recovered a small fraction of the stolen amount of cryptocurrency from Sky Mavis’s Ethereum sidechain Ronin. According to a tweet by CEO Changpeng "CZ'' Zhao recently,

The DPRK hacking group started to move their Axie Infinity stolen funds today. Part of it was made to Binance, spread across over 86 accounts. USD 5.8M has been recovered.

Zhao didn't identify names attached to the 86 accounts potentially involved in the crypto heist. Following a tip from the FBI, the U.S. Treasury added the attacker's Ethereum wallet to its sanctions list. 

The wallet is named "Ronin Bridge Exploiter" on Etherscan. This wallet has been linked to North Korea hacking group Lazarus, an organization that the FBI describes as "state-sponsored".

One of the sources stated that Lazarus is responsible for several major hacks. This includes the 2017 WannaCry ransomware attack, and 2014's Sony Pictures attack. Reportedly, it also had a series of cyber raids on pharmaceutical companies in 2020, including COVID-19 vaccine developers AstraZeneca. 

Earlier this month, the Ronin attacker was spotted moving USD 7 million (around PHP 366M) in crypto over to Tornado Cash. Basically, this is a tool that blurs crypto transactions by acting as an intermediary, breaking the on-chain link between the source of funds and their destination.

A week later, Binance led a USD 150M (around PHP 7.8B) funding round, including Animoca. It is the company behind the popular crypto game The Sandbox and tech venture capital firm a16z. The objective of the funding was to help reimburse victims of the attack and patch security vulnerabilities. 

Sky Mavis also rolled out a bug bounty program, offering different prizes, including a jackpot of USD 1M, to charitable hackers who can pinpoint any "extraordinarily severe" vulnerabilities.

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