Earlier in March this year, Ronin Network (RON), a blockchain network underpinning the famous crypto game Axie Infinity and Axie DAO suffered the largest crypto hack against a decentralized finance network reported to date.
In May 2022, the United States issued an advisory according to which highly skilled hackers from North Korea were trying to get employed by posing as IT freelancers. Now, it has been revealed that Axie Infinity hacking was socially engineered in which North Korean government-backed hacker group Lazarus used a fake job offer to infiltrate Sky Mavis’ network by sending one of the company’s employees a PDF file containing spyware.
Lazarus’ involvement in such a high-profile hack should not come as a surprise. In January 2022, researchers from different crypto security firms concluded that North Korean hackers have so far stolen $1.3 billion from cryptocurrency exchanges across the globe, while their prime suspect in these hacks was the infamous Lazarus gang.
Axie Infinity Hack
The employee, an ex-senior engineer at the company, took the bait and thought that it was a high-paying job offer from another company and opened the PDF. However, in reality, this company didn’t exist. During the recruiting process, the ex-employee gave away critical personal information, which attackers used to steal from the company.
Sky Mavis explained that its employees are constantly threatened by “advanced spear-phishing attacks on various social channels.” In this instance, one employee was fooled, who doesn’t even work at Sky Mavis anymore.
It is worth noting that the play-to-earn game Axie Infinity is a Pokemon-inspired game developed by Sky Mavis and rakes in approximately $15 million in revenue daily.
How was Ronin Hacked?
According to The Block, when the hacking took place, Axie Infinity had nine validators from its proof-of-authority, an Ethereum-based sidechain Ronin.
“The attacker managed to leverage that access to penetrate Sky Mavis IT infrastructure and gain access to the validator nodes,” Sky Mavis stated.
The attacker had to capture five out of nine validators to infiltrate the company’s networks. The…