U.S. Treasury Sanctions Sinbad Cryptocurrency Mixer Used by North Korean Hackers

U.S. Treasury Sanctions Sinbad Cryptocurrency Mixer Used by North Korean Hackers

November 30, 2023 at 01:48AM

The U.S. Treasury has sanctioned Sinbad, a crypto mixer used by North Korea’s Lazarus Group for money laundering. Sinbad has processed stolen virtual currency from major heists and is linked to various criminal activities. Blockchain analysis suggests connections between Sinbad and the also-sanctioned Blender mixer.

**Clear Takeaways from Meeting Notes – Nov 30, 2023:**

1. The U.S. Treasury Department has sanctioned Sinbad, a virtual currency mixer, for its role in laundering money for the North Korea-linked Lazarus Group.

2. Sinbad is implicated in several high-profile cryptocurrency heists, including the Horizon Bridge and Axie Infinity thefts, and has been identified as involving in money laundering activities related to sanctions evasion, drug trafficking, child sexual abuse materials, and darknet market sales.

3. The Lazarus Group has turned to Sinbad as their preferred laundering tool, notably after the shutdown of other mixers like Blender, Tornado Cash, and ChipMixer.

4. Sinbad was created in September 2022 by an individual using the alias “Mehdi,” positioning it as a privacy-preserving solution in response to the centralized control of cryptocurrencies.

5. Blockchain analytics by Chainalysis reveals that over one third of funds received by Sinbad since its inception originated from cryptocurrency hacks. Elliptic analysis indicates that Sinbad and Blender might be operated by the same individual or group, based on transaction patterns and other evidences.

6. The same wallet used by Blender’s operator seems to have been involved in pre-launch testing of Sinbad, and also in payments to individuals promoting Sinbad.

7. In a related crackdown on cybercrime, Vitalii Chychasov, an administrator of SSNDOB marketplace, was sentenced to eight years in federal prison in the United States for selling sensitive personal information.

8. Chychasov was captured and extradited to the U.S. after a joint operation involving the U.S., Cyprus, and Latvia succeeded in dismantling the SSNDOB online marketplace.

**Action Items:**
– Stay informed on the developments regarding virtual currency mixers and sanctions.
– Monitor announcements from the U.S. Treasury Department for implications on financial transactions and cryptocurrency operations.
– Consider the security implications for organizations involved in cryptocurrency transactions and evaluate the need for enhanced scrutiny of transactions to prevent involvement with illicit activity.

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