Korean hackers strengthen their focus on stealing crypto

Korean hackers strengthen their focus on stealing crypto

  • Security researchers warn that the North Korean hacking group, Lazarus, stepped up efforts to steal crypto.
  • The group has been performing high-profile hacks for years, and now, it is focusing on crypto, specifically.
  • Researchers believe that these efforts could secure major amounts for the sanctioned country.

For years now, the North Korean hacking groups have been targeting the crypto industry and its members. Some reports claim that they stole up to $2 billion in crypto and fiat in order to fund weapon programs.

New reports claim that hackers seem to be focusing on stealing cryptocurrencies more than ever. The country’s economy already struggled due to US sanctions, and it is currently doing even worse than before due to coronavirus, that even reached North Korea.

Lazarus now after the crypto industry

The new information comes from a report published by Daily NK. The report stresses that the Korean largest hacking group, Lazarus, stepped up its efforts to steal digital coins.

The group has been active for years, originally gaining infamy in 2014, after the hack of Sony Pictures. The hack revolved around the movie Interview, but since then, Lazarus became known for many more high-profile hacks.

One example is a cyber heist that they pulled in 2016, targeting a Bangladesh bank. There are also plenty of hacks that they are suspected of being behind. A number of them revolve around attacks on some major exchanges. The exchanges were hit and robbed, although the authorities never managed to determine who was behind the attacks.

North Korea is stealing crypto worldwide

Meanwhile, cybersecurity companies, such as Seoul-based ESTSecurity, claim that Lazarus now targets crypto. In fact, they believe that crypto has become the group’s major focus.

Their report claims that “Lazarus is carrying out APT (Adaptive Persistent Threat) attacks not only in South Korea but also in the international sphere, including the United States. They are also engaging in cyber-espionage operations as well as activities designed to generate foreign currency.

They are infecting user devices by sending malicious emails. Emails are designed to trick people into opening them by looking like updates from various crypto payment services. As soon as the unsuspecting users open them, they can get infected and eventually lose their coins. Analysts warn that North Korea could come into possession of enormous profits due to crypto theft. Due to the design of cryptocurrencies, nothing can stop this from happening, including coronavirus and the imposed sanctions.

By Ali Raza
A journalist, with experience in web journalism and marketing. Ali holds a master's degree in finance and enjoys writing about cryptocurrencies and fintech. Ali’s work has been published on a number of cryptocurrency publications. Raza is the co-founder of 5Gist.com, too, a site dedicated to educating people on 5G technology.

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