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Detective ZachXBT, who specializes in crimes involving cryptocurrencies, published a report on the history of the Lazarus Group. According to the detective, the group was intense between 2020 and 2023, carrying out some of the biggest robberies in history.

However, these are the known facts of history. The unprecedented part is that the article tracks 25 attacks linked to the group in that same period. Additionally, the group reportedly moved $200 million from digital assets to fiat currency between 2020 and 2023.

This profit corresponds to more than R$1 billion in current values ​​and represents a dimension of the size of the losses created by the group of hackers. The thefts mainly include large amounts of Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH).

US$200 million trail

In its report, ZachXBT examined several hacks and cryptocurrency wallets. In this sense, the detective identified large six-figure transfers in recent years, including attacks on several exchange online wallets in 2020.

The list of thefts includes US$370,000 worth of Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH) stolen from the former Canadian exchange Coinberry in August 2020. Another attack took place against the CoinMetro exchange, resulting in the loss of US$750,000.

According to the report, Lazarus consolidated funds from Coinberry, CoinMetro and other heists at one address in early January 2021. The group then used cryptocurrency mixer Tornado Cash to move the funds throughout the month. It is worth noting that the mixer faces sanctions from the United States for alleged involvement in criminal activities.

Although the purpose of the mixer is to hide the origin of transactions, ZachXBT was able to track these funds on the blockchain using the unique characteristics of each transfer. Over the next two years, the assets were consolidated with funds from other Lazarus group robberies and then sent to peer-to-peer (P2P) trading platforms such as Paxful Noones.

“$374,000 worth of USDT was frozen in November 2023 and an undisclosed amount was frozen on centralized exchanges in Q4 2023,” ZachXBT said on Monday. “An additional $3.4 million was frozen by three of the four stablecoin issuers located in a group of addresses.”

Chinese OTC Desks

Finally, ZachXBT stated that Lazarus also made several transfers to Wu Huihui, the owner of an over-the-counter (OTC) desk in China, in 2021. OTC desks are for users who want to trade large amounts of cryptocurrencies without going through exchanges .

In April 2023, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) filed formal charges against Wu, alleging that he had facilitated payments to figures linked to North Korea. ZachXBT said OTC traders in China have a strong connection with Lazarus and have helped the group in the past.

“Thousands of people in space have been directly and indirectly impacted by the Lazarus Group attacks and it appears that number will only continue to increase,” he concluded.

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