Binance Aids US Law Enforcement to Freeze $4.4M Tied to North Korean Cybercrime

Binance Aids US Law Enforcement to Freeze $4.4M Tied to North Korean Cybercrime

Binance Collaborates with US Authorities to Stop Cybercrime

In an effort to curb cybercrime, cryptocurrency exchange Binance recently shared that it had "supported US law enforcement" in freezing $4.4 million worth of digital assets linked to cybercriminal organizations in North Korea.

Binance Investigations Team: The Spearhead Against Cybercrime

In a Twitter thread dated May 25, Binance communicated that its internal Binance Investigations team coordinated with US law enforcement to impede the "unlawful revenue creation activities" of four recently sanctioned North Korean groups.

The exchange reported, "We initiated action against the accounts related to these individuals over a year ago, abiding by legally issued warrants and collaborating with law enforcement.”

When queried about more similar joint ventures, a Binance representative informed Cointelegraph that the company persistently scrutinizes its platform for malevolent activities of nation-state actors and partners with law enforcement authorities.

US Department of the Treasury's Latest Sanctions

On May 23, the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) released a statement announcing the sanctioning of four entities and one individual associated with the "malicious cyber activities supporting the Government of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK)."

The sanctioned entities include Chinyong Information Technology Cooperation Company, Pyongyang University of Automation, the 110th Research Center, and the Technical Reconnaissance Bureau.

Cybercrime Operations and Tactics

Chinyong is suspected of employing thousands of proficient IT professionals globally, who are charged with generating "revenue that aids its illicit WMD and ballistic missile programs," as per the Treasury.

These professionals, using fabricated or stolen identities, secure overseas IT jobs, including those in technology and cryptocurrency, and funnel the earnings back to the DPRK through crypto exchanges.

Kim Sang Man, also sanctioned by OFAC, is thought to be instrumental in disbursing salaries to relatives of Chinyong's overseas DPRK worker delegations, and allegedly received $2 million in crypto for selling IT equipment to DPRK-associated groups in China and Russia.

Focus on the Technical Reconnaissance Bureau

The Treasury Department suggests that the Technical Reconnaissance Bureau spearheads the DPRK's development of offensive cyber strategies and tools. This Bureau operates several departments, including those linked to the Lazarus Group.

The Lazarus Group, notorious for its cyber attacks on numerous crypto and blockchain projects in recent years, is suspected of masterminding the $620 million hack on Axie Infinity’s Ronin Bridge in March 2022.

Binance's Recent Efforts Against Cybercrime

Binance CEO, Changpeng Zhao, disclosed in April end that the exchange had recovered $5.8 million from the Lazarus Group when it detected some of the fraudulently obtained funds moving through the exchange.