Lazarus is back in the spotlight with the use of a new cryptocurrency blender, Sinbad. This blender has reportedly already been used to launder approximately $100 million. According to the Elliptic blockchain analysis, it appears that this blender is actually a new version of Blender, already sanctioned last year by the US Treasury for money laundering. In addition, the Lazarus group is under recent sanctions from the United States and South Korea for cryptocurrency theft and cyberattacks.
Famous crypto blender Blinder back as Sinbad?
This Monday, Elliptic, a blockchain analytics company, released a report on the Lazarus group. According to the report, the hackers used Sinbad, a crypto blender service, to launder $100 million. If Elliptic is to be believed, Sinbad is actually Blender. This is another blender service that was sanctioned last year for helping North Korean hackers launder hundreds of millions of dollars in cryptocurrencies.
Blender may have been motivated to rebrand to avoid sanctions, and OFAC [Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control] may now be looking to impose further sanctions on SinbadFrom the Elliptic report
Since last year, the U.S. government has been investigating cryptocurrency mixers like Blender and Tornado Cash. Crypto mixers anonymize blockchain transactions, providing an easy way for criminals to launder money.
Elliptic’s report indicates that Sinbad and Blender have certain commonalities that prove they are the same company in another form. Indeed, both companies have the same specific characteristics of transactions and the use of other services to obfuscate their transactions.
The similarities include:
- 10-digit mix codes;
- a letter of guarantee signed by the service address and a seven-day transaction period;
- coded languages as well as similar naming patterns.
In addition, Elliptic analysts say Sinbad was formed in October of last year. But despite its small size, the Lazarus group is using it to launder money. Thus, this revelation raises concerns about the effectiveness of sanctions on criminals, who can easily find another way to continue their illegal activities.
Lazarus under US and South Korean sanctions!
Lazarus, a hacker group with ties to North Korea, was recently placed under sanctions by the United States and South Korea for its cryptocurrency theft and cyberattack activities. The group is known to have ties to North Korean hackers. It is accused of stealing cryptocurrencies to fund illicit activities, including the development of nuclear weapons.
The sanctions are aimed at discouraging the hackers from continuing their criminal activities. South Korea has taken independent steps to sanction several North Korean citizens and seven institutions, including the Lazarus Group. One of the sanctioned individuals is Park Jin HYOK, a cybersecurity expert, working for a company linked to the Lazarus Group. He is currently under investigation by the FBI.
The FBI revealed on January 23 that Lazarus, along with another hacker group, APT38, stole $100 million in cryptocurrencies. However, the U.S. announced a joint operation to combat the various hacker attacks, which shows the importance of international cooperation in solving the problem of cyberattacks.
It is important to take steps to strengthen security systems and prevent cybercriminals from harming the global economy. Hacker groups like Lazarus will continue to pose a major threat to the security of cryptocurrency investors.
As a journalist at Coinpri, I’ve been captivated by the world of bitcoin and blockchain since 2020. The decentralized aspect of Bitcoin particularly piqued my interest. Since then, I’ve been working constantly to spread my knowledge, hoping one day to see a world where everyone fully enjoys their financial freedom.