Clever cyberattacks: North Korea steals record amount of crypto money

Qualified cyber attacks
North Korea steals record amount of crypto money

North Korea apparently funds its nuclear weapons and missile programs with stolen cryptocurrencies – and it does so successfully. In the past year, cyber attacks have put $ 400 million in the vaults. A group of US-sanctioned hackers is suspected.

North Korea has deployed thousands of hackers to hack institutions, businesses and scientists in South Korea and around the world. In view of the sanctions imposed on the country, they have one main objective: to generate new income. North Korean hackers are also extremely effective in this area, according to a report. Last year, at least seven attacks on cryptocurrency platforms reportedly stole nearly $ 400 million in digital assets.

According to blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis, 2021 has been one of the most successful years for cybercriminals in the country. “From 2020 to 2021, the number of hacks with North Korean involvement increased from four to seven, and the value derived from these hacks increased by 40%,” the BCC cited in the Chainalysis report. The attacks were reportedly directed primarily against investment firms and central stock exchanges. North Korea denies being involved in the hacker attacks.

Lazare group suspected

Hackers have used various techniques, including phishing emails, code exploits and malware, to siphon funds from organizations’ hot wallets and then move them to addresses controlled by North Korea, the report said. company.

Wallets are the storage location for cryptocurrencies. Hot wallets are storage locations for crypto-currencies connected to the Internet and are therefore susceptible to hacker attacks. They are used to send and receive cryptocurrencies and allow users to see the number of their tokens. Experts recommend moving large amounts of cryptocurrency that is not needed every day to separate “cold wallets” on the Internet.

According to Chainalysis, it is likely that many attacks were carried out by the so-called Lazarus Group, a US-sanctioned hacker group believed to be controlled by North Korea’s main intelligence agency. “As soon as North Korea got their hands on the funds, they started to carefully launder money to cover and collect,” said last year’s cyberattack report.

Retaliation for the satirical film “The Interview”

North Korea’s piracy potential was first noticed in 2014. At the time, there was an attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment in retaliation for the satirical film “The Interview” in which Kim was ridiculed. Pyongyang is also suspected of stealing the equivalent of 67 million euros from the Central Bank of Bangladesh and around 50 million euros from the Taiwanese bank Far Eastern International in 2017. The country was also held responsible for the cyber attack World of Blackmail WannaCry in 2017.

A United Nations agency has accused Pyongyang of primarily funding its nuclear weapons and missile programs with stolen cryptocurrencies. For the period from 2019 to November 2020 alone, virtual currencies with a total value of around $ 316 million (262 million euros) were stolen, according to the confidential UN report, drawn up by a panel of experts to review the sanctions against Pyongyang. .

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