Hackers like Lazarus continue to use Tornado Cash despite US sanctions

Blockchain analytics agency Elliptic revealed that the North Korea-backed hacker group Lazarus is once again using sanctioned crypto mixer Tornado Cash to obfuscate its transactions.

Final yr, the group ceased utilizing the crypto mixer after US authorities sanctions, which have been imposed due to allegations of aiding criminals in laundering illegally obtained digital belongings.

Following the sanctions, Tornado Cash noticed an 85% decline in total quantity as hackers started utilizing options like and cross-chain bridges.

Why Lazarus group returned to Tornado Cash

Nonetheless, the US authorities’s sanctions on for facilitating cash laundering actions of North Korean state-sponsored hacking teams have restricted choices for Lazarus.

Consequently, the group has turned to Tornado Cash, which has remained operational despite the US sanctions due to its decentralized nature.

Elliptic additionally disclosed that the group just lately moved roughly $13 million in funds stolen from the HTX Exploit. These funds have been transferred by way of Tornado Cash in over 40 transactions throughout the final three days, marking their first motion for the reason that November 2023 incident.

What does this imply for the business?

Lazarus Group’s return to Tornado Cash displays the federal government’s incapacity to curb the mixer’s operations successfully, in accordance to Elliptic.

The agency defined that Tornado Cash can’t be seized and shut down like centralized mixers as a result of it operates by way of good contracts on decentralized blockchains.

Tom Robinson, the co-founder of Elliptic, added:

“The takedowns of centralized mixers by law enforcement agencies is perhaps pushing crypto laundering back towards decentralized alternatives.”

Data from DeFillama additional suggests a resurgence of the platform, with the overall worth of belongings locked reaching $565 million, marking its highest stage for the reason that US authorities imposed sanctions in 2022.

This uptrend can also be mirrored within the protocol’s native TORN token, which was buying and selling at roughly $2 as of press time — up 13% throughout the previous day, based mostly on CryptoSlate information.

In the meantime, the crypto neighborhood has rallied behind the venture’s builders after a number of governments, together with the US, focused them with authorized motion. Notable crypto stakeholders like Coinbase have supported the builders’ authorized protection.

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