Korean National Police Agency investigating $81 million crypto theft from Orbit Chain


Crypto platform Orbit Chain said it is working with the Korean National Police Agency and Korea Internet & Security Agency (KISA) to address a cyberattack that led to the theft of more than $81 million worth of cryptocurrency.

On the night of New Year’s Eve, Orbit Chain confirmed that they began to see unauthorized transactions on their platform involving several cryptocurrencies including U.S.-dollar-pegged coins USDC and USDT as well as ETH and others.

Orbit Chain’s platform supports communication between different blockchain networks. The company hired blockchain security company ChainLight to lead the investigation.

Other blockchain research companies, including CertiK and PeckShield, pegged the losses at around $81.5 million, with $30 million taken in USDT and $10 million in USDC.

“Orbit Chain team has developed a system for investigation support and cause analysis with the Korean National Police Agency and KISA (Korea Internet & Security Agency), enabling a more proactive and comprehensive investigation approach. Furthermore, we are also discussing close cooperation with domestic and foreign law enforcement agencies,” they said in a notice on Tuesday.

“In order to resolve this issue, the Orbit Chain team will utilize all available methods to track down the hackers and recover the funds. We sincerely request that all members of the Orbit Chain community and the Web3 ecosystem help spread this information as widely as possible.”

They asked other global cryptocurrency exchanges to freeze the stolen assets and warned customers to be wary of scams related to potential repayment of lost funds.

The company noted that it has tried to communicate with the attackers, sending them multiple messages on Monday. It is unclear if the hackers have responded, and the company did not respond to requests for comment about their communications with those behind the incident.

Orbit Chain, which is based in South Korea, added that it is looking into the possibility that the attack was launched by hackers based in North Korea — whose government has been implicated in dozens of the largest crypto thefts over the last three years.

PeckShield noted that including the funds stolen from Orbit Chain, nearly $100 million was taken from crypto platforms in December 2023.

U.S. officials say North Korean hackers have stolen over $2 billion worth of cryptocurrency to help fund the North Korean government’s activities — including its weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs.

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Jonathan Greig is a Breaking News Reporter at Recorded Future News. Jonathan has worked across the globe as a journalist since 2014. Before moving back to New York City, he worked for news outlets in South Africa, Jordan and Cambodia. He previously covered cybersecurity at ZDNet and TechRepublic.


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