Lazarus Hackers Enriching North Korea
Criminal hackers tied to the Kim Jong-Un government have a lot to celebrate in their heist last year. The thieves with the assistance of the Digicash platform, which helped the hackers launder their stolen assets, were able to steal more than US$400 Million from ransomware attacks launched in 2021.
The North Korean government-sponsored threat actors targeted mostly financial institutions as well as popular online currency exchanges. With their concerted hacking attacks, the criminal hackers after stealing as much currency were able to launder their illicit gains back to the coffers of their infamous leader; Jong-Un.
A report from Chainalysis that analyzed the crypto block revealed that the dark web hackers hid their loot with the help of currency mixing software. With this intriguing setup, the stolen money is sent to newly created wallets after it is dissected into numerous smaller payments, then the stolen currency is moved to a new account after being consolidated into large lump sums.
Hackers New Love; Ether
Bitcoin which is the most expensive cryptocurrency is no longer the top choice for hackers, who launches ransomware on companies throughout the year. Now, the new top target is Ether which has replaced Bitcoins as the most stolen currency. Cyber security analysts state that Ether since 2020 has accounted for up to 58 percent of cryptographic funds stolen. Since, 2019, at just 20 percent, Bitcoin has experienced a drastic fall from 50 percent to about 20%.
And that could be that Bitcoins are now too valuable for investors holding that asset not to protect them with the utmost security features. Cyber analysts have suggested that the trend shows that with the switch from Bitcoin to Ether, crypto crime has massively increased, especially since the onset of the Covid19 pandemic.
The researchers revealed that the North Korean government has developed a uniquely sophisticated system that has benefited the Lazarus Group of hackers and other threat actors that works to enrich North Korea’s regime.
With its systematic platform, North Korea has risen as one of the leaders of the cryptocurrency-enabled global hacking crime syndicate. By 2021, the $400 million theft had advanced the country and painted its portrait as one of the most persistent criminal threats to the non-tangible cryptocurrency industry.