• Norway’s Økokrim unit has seized NOK 60 million in cryptocurrency as part of their investigation into a Sky Mavis cyber-attack.
• This hack is linked to North Korea’s primary intelligence agency, the Reconnaissance General Bureau.
• Økokrim is aiming to prevent the funds from being used for criminal activities and are taking steps to compensate victims of the attack.
Norway Seizes Crypto Linked to North Korean Hackers
Sky Mavis Cyber Attack
In March 2022, hackers associated with North Korea’s Reconnaissance General Bureau stole $600 million worth of cryptocurrency from Axie Infinity, a popular play-to-earn (P2E) gaming platform. Norway’s economy crimes unit, Økokrim, then conducted an investigation and seized a whopping NOK 60 million (or $5.9 million) in cryptocurrency as part of this case.
To track stolen assets via cryptocurrency transactions, Økokrim partnered with FBI specialists in an international collaboration effort aimed at preventing funds from being used for criminal activities. Marianne Bender, the Økokrim first states attorney highlighted the importance of such global initiatives in combating profit-driven cybercrime.
Økokrim has plans to communicate with Sky Mavis so that victims can be compensated for their losses. Attention was also given to what hackers could do with the stolen funds; Bender revealed that they could potentially funnel it into North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.
The criminals attempted to outsmart authorities by using advanced tactics on blockchain technology but were ultimately unsuccessful due to global efforts in tracking down cryptocurrency transactions associated with illegal activity.
This case shows that international cooperation is key when it comes to tackling cybercrime and ensuring that stolen assets are not used for criminal activities or other malicious purposes like funding nuclear programs.