Crypto Weekly Report: Exposing Hacks, Heists, & Takedowns

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In this week’s guide, we plan on exposing the dark underbelly of the crypto industry. We’ll dissect the latest exploits of North Korea’s Lazarus Group, a daring heist targeting Gala Games with a surprising twist, and the takedown of a major online drug marketplace.

These cases highlight the ever-present threats facing the crypto industry.

Lazarus Group Strikes Again!

In a startling revelation by the United Nations, the notorious Lazarus Group, a cybercrime syndicate hailing from North Korea, made headlines by laundering a staggering $147.5 million worth of stolen cryptocurrency back to North Korea. Using Tornado Cash, a crypto mixer blacklisted in 2021, they stealthily funneled their ill-gotten gains, leaving authorities scrambling in their wake.

This isn’t the first time the Lazarus Group has struck gold. In March 2023, they orchestrated a daring heist on the crypto exchange HTX, making off with millions. Their adept use of Tornado Cash facilitated seamless money laundering, with the UN report revealing a staggering $3 billion pilfered from crypto enterprises between 2017 and 2024.

Gala Games Under Attack

On May 20, 2024, Gala Games fell victim to a malicious hack that saw attackers minting a whopping 5 billion $GALA tokens without authorization. Initially estimated at a staggering $200 million loss, Gala Games managed to mitigate the damage, with the true value standing at $21 million before their swift intervention.

Operating with administrative access to Gala Games’ smart contract, the attacker unleashed a torrent of illicit tokens, plunging the market capitalization of the GALA token from $0.048 to $0.0388. Despite the chaos, Gala Games’ resilience shone through as they recovered and the token price bounced back to $0.042.

In a surprising turn of events, the attacker returned 5950 ETH worth about $22.75 million. Gala Games announced a Burn Program, utilizing the recovered funds to purchase $GALA tokens and burn them, aiming to restore stability to the token’s value.

The Fall of the “Dark Lord”

In a dramatic showdown, federal agents apprehended Rui-Siang Lin, the mastermind behind the ‘Incognito Market’ empire, at John F. Kennedy International Airport on May 18. Lin faced multiple charges and eventually pled guilty, sealing his fate and ensuring a lifetime behind bars.

From October 2020 to March 2024, Incognito Market thrived as a black market for narcotics, netting Lin tens of millions of dollars. However, justice caught up with him.

Also Check Out: Crypto Hack Report Q1 2024: Trends, Losses, and Recovery Efforts

All in all

This week’s crypto roundup has been a whirlwind tour of the challenges the market faces ever too often. From North Korean laundering schemes to audacious hacks and black market takedowns, it’s a reminder that the crypto world is still very much under construction.

But amidst the growing pains, there’s a sense of resilience. Hackers are met with swift action, stolen funds are recovered, and vulnerabilities are patched.

The future of crypto is uncertain, but one thing’s for sure: it’s never dull.

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