The FBI helps retrieve millions of dollars stolen in the Axie Infinity Hack. Norway’s National Authority of Investigation and Prosecution of Economic and Environmental Crime, or Økokrim, partnered with the FBI to recover the stolen funds. Approximately $5.9 million has been taken back from hackers connected to the Axie Infinity Hack. Let’s take a closer look at Axie’s stolen funds.
Axie Infinity Hack Sees Millions in Stolen Crypto Assets
For nearly a year, Økokrim and the FBI have been conducting an investigation into one of the biggest hacks on Axie Infinity. Despite their attempt to cash out, the hackers’ plan was foiled due to timing. Additionally, since the recovery of the funds, the value of AXS and RON tokens has increased by 8% to $11 and 10% to $0.8788, respectively.
One of the largest crypto heists to date occurred in March 2022. Hackers looted the Ronin Network, the host network for Axie Infinity. They stole crypto assets worth $625 million at the time, including 174,000 ETH and 26 million USDC. To clarify, the Axie Infinity hackers were able to breach the network by finding a backdoor through Ronin’s gas-free RPC node. Subsequently, they then abused the Axie DAO validator.
The FBI connected North Korean hacker group Lazarus to the Axie Infinity hack. Reports suggest the hackers planned to launder the stolen crypto assets, valued at $625 million. Therefore, they planned to use Tornado Cash, a privacy mixer sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury Department. Since 2017, Lazarus and other North Korean exploiters have allegedly stolen up to $1 billion in crypto assets.
However, since the Axie Infinity hack, the FBI and Økokrim have actively investigated and tracked the stolen assets. They successfully prevented the hackers from laundering the money. Authorities successfully recovered millions of stolen assets and prevented them from being used for further illicit activities. Overall, the international investigation was a major success, resulting in thwarting the hackers’ attempts to launder the stolen funds.
In a press release, Økokrim alleged that the hackers intended to use the stolen assets to fund North Korea’s nuclear weapons program. Therefore, it was of utmost importance to track the assets and prevent the exploiters from contributing to the proliferation of mass weapons.
Recovering Stolen Crypto Assets
The economic crime unit of Økokrim has announced that it will continue to monitor the hackers’ money laundering operation and actively work to prevent the exploiters from converting the stolen assets into regular currency. Økokrim has not yet connected with Sky Mavis, the developer of Axie Infinity, to return the stolen crypto to the victims.
However, Ronin underwent a major overhaul three months after the 2022 Axie Infinity hack. It is their hope to prevent similar breaches in the future. At present, the stolen assets have dropped almost 50% in value and are worth approximately $325 million.
Finally, cryptocurrency’s digital and anonymous nature, among other factors, has made it challenging for authorities to recover stolen assets. However, the FBI and Norwegian authorities’ success in recovering millions in stolen crypto assets is a significant win for all.