Tuesday, January 31, 2023

North Korean Hackers Pose As VC Firms And Banks To Steal Millions From Crypto Startups

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North Korean hackers are taking it a notch higher by pretending to be venture capitalists to steal from cryptocurrency startups.

BlueNoroff, the name given by cybersecurity experts to a crew associated with the North Korean government-funded hacking operation Lazarus Group, has expanded its target list to include venture capital firms, cryptocurrency startups, and banks, a report by cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab disclosed.

BlueNoroff stole millions of dollars in cryptocurrencies by building more than 70 phony domains and mimicking financial firms and venture capital businesses, as revealed by Kaspersky on Tuesday.

BlueNoroff is experimenting with new file types and delivery techniques for its virus, according to Kaspersky’s report. The North Korean hacker’s cybercrime activities increased after a pause for much of the year.

The cybersecurity firm discovered that the Lazarus-affiliated hacker group is deploying malware to attack businesses in the Blockchain, DeFi, and FinTech industries.

Photo Source: Kaspersky Lab Blog

North Korean Hackers Ramp Up Attacks

The Lazarus Group is a cybercrime organization composed of an undetermined number of North Korean-supervised cybercriminals. Experts say it was responsible for a large number of cyberattacks between 2010 and 2021.

Kaspersky reported:

“As a result of our investigation into the infrastructure utilized by this gang, we uncovered more than 70 domains. In addition, they built many websites that resemble venture capital and banking sites.”

The theft of virtual currencies has become a cottage industry for North Korean hackers. Since 2017, more than $1 billion worth of various crypto assets have been stolen, data from South Korean intelligence services show.

In recent weeks, North Korean hackers with ties to Lazarus have also been observed attempting to steal NFTs.

After the theft of over $620 million from Axie Infinity, Lazarus was able to acquire sufficient resources to enhance their operations.

Crypto total market cap at $755 billion on the daily chart | Chart: TradingView.com

Global Cybercrime Losses Increase Yearly

Several prominent organizations, like the now-defunct cryptocurrency exchange FTX, were attacked by North Korean hackers this year.

In a study, the World Economic Forum’s 2020 Global Risk Report shows the probability of organized cybercrime entities being detected and prosecuted is as low as 0.05% in the United States.

According to Microsoft, assaults targeting cryptocurrency companies for greater rewards have increased over the past few years, resulting in more sophisticated attacks than in the past.

In 2020, the U.S. Army projected that BlueNoroff was comprised of around 1,700 personnel working globally.

Meanwhile, Cybersecurity Ventures predicts that the worldwide damage caused by cybercrime would increase by 15% yearly over the next five years, reaching $10.5 trillion annually by 2025, up from $3 trillion in 2015.

Featured Image: Yahoo Sports.

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