North Korean Cyber Criminals Aim at Crypto Thefts
A government-backed team of hackers is believed to be responsible for multi-million dollar raids on crypto exchanges
North Korea has raised some USD 9.2 billion through hack attacks worldwide, including many on cryptocurrency exchanges, according to South Korean intelligence services, quoted by Crypto News.
According to South Korean military security expert Kim Min-seok, its northern neighbor has a team of between 20 and 30 talented and educated hackers that are most likely responsible for the theft of millions of dollars from South Korean crypto exchanges. That team could have also led the recent attack on Japan’s Coincheck, getting away with some USD 500 million worth of NEM coins.
South Korean authorities blame Northern hackers for two attacks on local crypto exchange Youbit, which filed for bankruptcy after the second one in December 2017, for an attack on Bithumb exchange in June 2017, and for a malware that forces remote computers to mine Monero (XMR) coins for servers based in North Korea.
The US has also blamed a hacking group that works for the North Korean government for last year’s WannaCry attacks that crippled thousands of hospitals, banks and other companies across the globe.
North Koreans are running out of cash with the increasing sanctions from the US and UN and decreased trade with China, and the hack attacks help them raise some money, Min-seok claims.
The hackers use sophisticated virus-containing email attachments to steal passwords and login information from exchanges, as well as telephone calls on behalf of relatives that happen to need financial help urgently.