Cryptocurrency ‘Mixer’ Used By North Korean Hackers Punished By US Sanctions

A popular cryptocurrency service that allows users to conceal their transactions has been sanctioned by the US Treasury Department based on evidence North Korean hackers relied on it to launder money for ill-gotten gains, officials say. announced on Monday.

A popular electronic money service that allows users to conceal their transactions have been WE The Treasury Department relies on evidence that North Korean hackers rely on to launder money for illicit gain, officials announced Monday.

Tornado Cash, an anonymous virtual currency exchange designed to protect the privacy of blockchain Users laundered more than $7 billion in virtual currency, a senior Treasury official said in a press conference. According to the official, North Korea’s Lazarus Group laundered $450 million through Tornado Cash. It was also used to launder nearly $100 million in June cheat afterward Harmony Bridge, a platform that allows cryptocurrency transactions between blockchains, the official said.

Tornado Cash, created in 2019, could not be immediately found for comment. Regulatory officials declined to provide details on where Tornado Cash is based or who is behind it.

The Treasury official described the money mixer as an automated money laundering service that is used to facilitate anonymous transactions by mixing funds from different sources before transferring them to an end beneficiary. together.

Tornado Cash becomes the second mixer sanctioned by the Treasury Department. In May, the agency issued sanctions against, also allegedly used by North Korea. hacker to launder money obtained illegally from hacking.

After the sanctions, it appears that is no longer active, the official said.

North Korea has been accused of using hacks to steal money to fund Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un’s regime, including paying for weapons. A senior Biden management official said there have been seven major hacks of crypto-related entities since the start of the year.

In an interview in March, one of the founders of Tornado Cash said it was “technically impossible” for sanctions to be enforced on decentralized protocols because of the way they were designed. .

Designed to protect privacy, the Tornado protocol works by breaking the link between sender and receiver addresses on transactions sent via the Ethereum blockchain. The project is based on smart contracts, which means that decisions are made by pre-written software programs instead of individuals. It also does not provide any monitoring services or has a centralized server for its website.

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