Kronos Research hacker starts laundering funds on Tornado Cash

After six months those responsible for the $25 million Kronos Research exploit have begun transferring the pilfered funds.

Blockchain security firm PeckSheild flagged the move on May 7, noting that the hackers were directing the funds towards the mixing platform Tornadocash.

Tornado Cash is an open-source platform designed to mix crypto funds from multiple sources, which makes it difficult to track the origin of the assets. The platform, often used by bad actors to launder ill-gotten gains, has drawn significant criticism from regulators.

While some tout it as a tool to empower user privacy, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control imposed sanctions on its use in August 2022. 

Despite sanctions, the platform continued to be a go-to for bad actors, laundering more than half a billion dollars worth of crypto in 2023 alone.

The platform’s creators have also been charged with laundering stolen crypto assets. However, they have denied the allegations and have moved to dismiss them.

The Kronos Research hacker initially moved 1,314 Ether to a new address, starting with 0x8F5e4. At the time of the move, the stash was valued at approximately $4 million.

After this, the funds were moved to another wallet identified by 0x164A24b. This wallet was then used to initiate 10 transactions for 100 ETH each, and the funds were sent to the crypto-mixing platform.

Hacker transferring funds to Tornado Cash | Source: Pecksheildalert on X

Kronos Research initially disclosed the exploit on Nov. 18. The attack was confirmed by on-chain investigator ZachXBT, who flagged notable Ether outflows from a linked wallet. It was later discovered that the hackers employed stolen API keys to execute the attack.

The Taiwan-based firm also attempted to negotiate with the hacker days after the attack transpired. A bounty of 10% was offered under the condition that the remaining 90% of the funds be returned, but to no avail.

Since the start of 2024, there have already been multiple attacks in the crypto space. Interestingly, recent reports suggest a notable decline in the trend, with April witnessing a 67% drop in crypto thefts from March.

Similarly, March 2024 also recorded a 50% drop in crypto losses due to hacks compared to February.

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