Two major crypto exchanges, Binance and Huobi, have frozen $1.4 million in cryptocurrency related to the Harmony Bridge heist and its alleged North Korean hackers.
According to Elliptic, a crypto tracing firm, it provided intelligence to the two exchanges that led them to freeze accounts.
Elliptic traced the funds back to the $100 million hack of a “bridge” that enabled Harmony blockchain users to move crypto assets between different ecosystems.
Binance and Huobi have not yet commented on the situation. Federal investigators have attributed the attack on the bridge to the Lazarus Group, a North Korean hacker group, as part of their multi-year campaign to steal hundreds of millions of dollars in crypto from exchanges and infrastructure.
The funds stolen from the hack allegedly fund North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.
Elliptic further claimed that it tracked the frozen Harmony funds through Tornado Cash, a privacy-focused mixing service that claims to conceal one’s tracks on the public Ethereum ledger. Tornado Cash was sanctioned by the U.S. because of its alleged use by North Korean hackers.
The move by Binance and Huobi to freeze the funds highlights their efforts to combat the use of their platforms for illicit activities.
The crypto industry has faced criticism for its perceived lack of security and regulation. However, this incident shows that crypto exchanges are taking steps to address these concerns and work with regulators to prevent the use of cryptocurrencies in illegal activities.