North Korea Hackers responsible for $600 million crypto theft

    What are NFTs?

    An NFT is a digital asset that depicts real-world elements like art, music, in-game items, and films. They’re bought and traded online, often using cryptocurrency, and they’re usually encoded with the same software as many other cryptos. Despite the fact that they’ve been around since 2014, NFTs are currently gaining popularity as a popular means to buy and sell digital artwork. Since November 2017, a whopping $174 million has been spent on NFTs.

    NFTs are also one-of-a-kind, or at the very least, one of the very small runs, and contain unique identifying codes. “Essentially, NFTs generate digital scarcity,” explains Arry Yu, managing director of Yellow Umbrella Ventures and chair of the Washington Technology Industry Association’s Cascadia Blockchain Council.

    This is in sharp contrast to the vast majority of digital products, which are nearly always available in endless quantities. If a certain asset is in demand, cutting down the supply should theoretically increase its value. However, many NFTs have been digital works that already exist in some form elsewhere, such as legendary video clips from NBA games or securitized versions of digital art that are already floating around on Instagram, at least in these early days.

    Famous digital artist Mike Winklemann, better known as “Beeple,” assembled a composite of 5,000 daily drawings to produce “EVERYDAYS: The First 5000 Days,” which sold for a record-breaking $69.3 million at Christie’s in 2021.

    Individual images—or perhaps the full collage of images—can be viewed for free on the internet. So, why are people prepared to spend millions of dollars on something that might be easily screenshotted or downloaded? because a non-financial transaction permits the buyer to keep the original object. It also comes with built-in authentication, which acts as proof of ownership. The “digital bragging rights” are almost as valuable as the item itself to collectors.

    In-game assets called ‘Axies’ are seen in this undated handout image from the blockchain-based game Axie Infinity, which is owned by Sky Mavis. Sky Mavis/Handout via REUTERS THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES. MANDATORY CREDIT

    North Korea Hackers

    The FBI has linked North Korean hackers to a crypto theft involving the NFT-based game Axie Infinity that netted over $600 million. The game, which lets users earn cryptocurrency through play and trading, was hacked in one of the greatest heists when its linked blockchain platform, Ronin, was hacked during the last several months, but the vulnerability was only discovered last month.

    The FBI claimed in a statement on Thursday that “through our investigations, we were able to determine that Lazarus Group and APT38, cyber actors affiliated with [North Korea], are responsible for the theft.”

    Cyber threat from North Korea. North Korean hacker at the computer, on a background of binary code, the colors of the flag of the DPRK. DDoS attack

    Lazarus Group

    North Korea’s top intelligence department is thought to be in charge of the Lazarus Group. Its name has already been linked to the infamous Sony Pictures hacking, which resulted in the release of sensitive information, including a film that mocked North Korea’s supreme leader, Kim Jong-un. It’s also been linked to ransomware assaults like WannaCry and bank hacking around the world. But this is the first time the organization has been tied to a crypto-heist.

    “As it strives to defy stringent US and UN sanctions, the DPRK is increasingly relying on illegal activities such as cybercrime to earn revenue for its weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs,” a US Treasury Department spokesperson said.

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