North Korean hackers steal over $100 million from Atomic Wallet customers

By: Dickson Arinze

North Korean hackers steal over $100 million from Atomic Wallet customers

June 14, 2023 7:18 AM

Elliptic, a blockchain research firm, claims that 5,500 cryptocurrency wallets were compromised in the hack.

Atomic Wallet, a non-custodial decentralized wallet, has been struck by a massive exploit, resulting in customers reporting whole cryptocurrency portfolio losses. This unanticipated breach has sent shockwaves through the cryptocurrency ecosystem, as Atomic Wallet's entire concept relies on users taking full responsibility for safely storing their holdings. 

According to an Elliptic estimate, the losses from the Atomic Wallet hack have already surpassed→ $100 million. This startling statistic emphasizes the gravity of the hack, which affected an estimated 5,500 cryptocurrency wallets.

Despite the gravity of the issue, Atomic Wallet has yet to explain the fundamental reason for these significant losses. This has raised the ire of disgruntled users, who are waiting for clarification and reassurance from the corporation. Meanwhile, the company's most recent Twitter update was on June 7 at the time of publication. 

Angry users of Atomic Wallet have flocked to Twitter to complain about the company's response. Ezra Carlson tweeted, tagging Atomic Wallet, "Why won't AM give me a straight answer about why they didn't warn me, knowing fully well that they were being breached, knowing it was not secure to use AM this past week before I conducted a transfer to my wallet that was later hacked."


Another user, "Real Deal Crypto," criticized Atomic Wallet for failing to provide timely updates on the matter, adding, "Your last update was five days ago - SERIOUSLY?!?"


In a tweet on June 3, Atomic Wallet acknowledged accusations of compromised wallets but downplayed the damage, claiming that "less than 1%" of its user base had been affected. However, the astonishing amount of damages indicates a serious breach.


Elliptic has linked the crime to the infamous Lazarus Group, which is suspected of stealing over $2 billion in cryptocurrency through different thefts. This is the first time a large crypto theft has been explicitly traced to the Lazarus Group since its $100 million exploit of Horizon Bridge in June 2022, according to Elliptic.

Elliptic announced after the heist that it was working with international exchanges and investigators to try to recover the stolen funds. So far, the firm's efforts have purportedly resulted in the freezing of nearly $1 million in stolen funds. Nevertheless, the blockchain analysis firm reported that "the thief is beginning to change their behavior in reaction to the freezing of these funds." They have turned to the Garantex exchange in Russia in particular to launder the stolen riches."

The latest hack follows a string of major breaches, including the recent Jimbos Protocol exploit, which resulted in a $7.5 million loss, and a hostile proposal that took control of Tornado Cash's governance in May. According to Chainalysis research→, crypto hackers stole $3.8 billion in 2022, with a major amount ascribed to North Korean-linked operations and a huge number of exploits targeting decentralized financial protocols.