North Korean Hackers steal Cryptocurrency
October 23, 2018 6:20 am,
Even though blockchain technology has all sorts of security applications, one thing that is for sure is that cryptocurrency exchanges are vulnerable to cybersecurity attacks and hackers have exploited the flaws for massive gains. But, until now no hacking group has been that successful as the North Korean hacking group “Lazarus”, which has been responsible for the theft of more than half a billion dollars in cryptocurrency since 2017.
The group of hackers known as the Lazarus group is notoriously elusive and no significant tally can be made to the number of members involved in the group. They have attacks tracking back to 2009. This group is known for several high profile bank attacks especially the 2016 Bangladesh bank robbery successfully stealing over $80 million.
Lazarus has been focussed on cryptocurrency for some time no. They have been recently utilizing a malware campaign known as AppleJesus that have been especially effective regarding Mac users. Many believe that the hacker group is targeting cryptocurrency as a result of the fact that the US is attempting to isolate the country from the global financial system, as a result of the nuclear program and the cryptocurrencies are an easier target, seeing that they are not being controlled by a bank or government.
One report state, that the state-sponsored hacker group as responsible for $571 million of the $882 million total in crypto that as stolen from online exchanges during the time period, almost 65% of the total sum. Out of the 14 separate exchange breaches, five have been attributed to the group.
Group-IB further indicates that the Initial Coin Offering platforms are the prime and most important targets for the hackers revealing that 10% of the total funds raised from token sales in 2017-2018 were stolen. A majority of the illicit activity targeting ICO’s was reportedly conducted through phishing methods, with Group-IB estimating that the large phishing groups have the capacity to steal around $1million a month.
Group-IB suggests that mining pools are easy targets for 51% attacks by state-sponsored hackers. Attempts at such attacks albeit with limited success are already on the rise. It is stated that “Fraudulent phishing schemes involving crypto-brands will only get more complex as well as the cybercriminals level of preparation for phishing attacks.” Group-IB’s first report which was first profiled in the Next Web, also points out that some of the most aggressive hacker groups will shift focus on the exchanges instead of banks. Japanese cryptocurrency exchange hacked for more than $500 million and told that “We didn’t have enough people working on internal checks, management, and system risks.”