Coinfeeds Daily → Lazarus Group Adopts New Crypto Laundering Method With YoMix Mixer - Chainalysis

Lazarus Group Adopts New Crypto Laundering Method With YoMix Mixer - Chainalysis

Published: Feb 17, 2024 | Last Updated: Mar 17, 2024
The concept of cryptocurrency being physically laundered
Image: The concept of cryptocurrency being physically laundered

North Korean hackers shift to YoMix mixer, evading global sanctions and complicating efforts to trace stolen funds.

In recent developments, the notorious North Korean hacker group known as Lazarus has shifted its strategy for laundering stolen cryptocurrency. This move comes as a response to the increased scrutiny and sanctions placed on their previously utilized bitcoin mixers. Chainalysis, a blockchain analysis company, reports that Lazarus is now employing the YoMix bitcoin mixer to obscure the origins of their illicitly obtained funds.

The Shift to YoMix

YoMix, a relatively unknown bitcoin mixer until recently, has seen a dramatic increase in its usage. This surge is not attributed to a rise in its popularity among regular users but rather to the activities of the Lazarus group. By funneling stolen cryptocurrency through YoMix, Lazarus aims to make the tracking of these funds more challenging for authorities. It's estimated that about one-third of the inflows to YoMix in 2023 can be traced back to wallets linked to cryptocurrency heists, highlighting the significant role Lazarus plays in its operations.

Why the Change?

The adaptation by Lazarus to use YoMix comes after several bitcoin mixers they previously relied on were sanctioned by governments around the world. These sanctions are part of broader efforts to combat money laundering and the financing of illegal activities through cryptocurrencies. By moving to less known and currently unsanctioned platforms like YoMix, Lazarus continues its efforts to evade detection and maintain the flow of funds necessary for its operations.

The Impact of Lazarus's Activities

Lazarus is not just any hacker group; it's believed to be a state-sponsored entity operating under the North Korean regime. The group's activities, including major cryptocurrency heists, are thought to play a crucial role in funding North Korea's operations and weapons development programs. From 2017 to 2023, North Korean hackers, with Lazarus at the forefront, have stolen an estimated $3 billion in cryptocurrency. This staggering amount underscores the significant impact these operations have, not just on the victims of the heists but on international security and the global cryptocurrency market.

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