In a development that has rattled the cryptocurrency sector, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has named the Lazarus Group as the orchestrators of the staggering $41 million cyber theft from Stake.com. The online crypto casino, already reeling from a previous security breach, found itself ensnared in a far graver situation on September 4, 2023.
The FBI’s investigation revealed that the Lazarus Group, alternatively known as APT38, masterminded the theft, channeling the stolen assets through various blockchain networks, including Ethereum, Binance Smart Chain, and Polygon.
A chain of heists: Lazarus Group’s 2023 crime spree
The theft from Stake.com is but a link in a chain of cryptocurrency heists that the Lazarus Group has executed this year. The group’s illicit activities in 2023 have resulted in the theft of over $200 million from various platforms. Among these are the thefts of $60 million from Alphapo and CoinsPaid, and a staggering $100 million from Atomic Wallet. The FBI’s findings underscore the pressing need for fortified cybersecurity measures and international collaboration to thwart such cybercrimes.
Fallout and future measures: Sanctions and advisories
The U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) had previously sanctioned the Lazarus Group in 2019. Despite these measures, the group has persisted in its criminal activities. In light of the recent events, the FBI has disseminated a cybersecurity advisory, cautioning the digital community, especially private sector entities, to be vigilant regarding transactions linked to the stolen funds.
Established in 2017, Stake.com had quickly risen to prominence as the world’s leading online crypto casino, offering a range of sports betting and casino games. The platform exclusively uses cryptocurrencies for transactions and supports 18 different types, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dogecoin, and Ripple. This incident adds another layer to the complex narrative of cybercrime, accentuating the imperative for robust cybersecurity frameworks.