North Korean hackers have had a bit of a bad reputation, ever since their involvement was suspected when a South Korean cryptocurrency exchange was hacked into, late last year.
YouBit, a cryptocurrency exchange had to declare bankruptcy after their exchange got hacked in December 2017 and they had to put up this message on their website saying, “After the accident in April, we did our best to improve our security, recruitment and system maintenance. However, at 4:35 am, we lost our coins due to a hack.” The cyber attack was the second in line for the website, the previous taking place in April this year. The amount of asset lost at that time was 4000 bitcoins which is valued at $73 m (around 55 million pounds).
Although there was no official group who had taken responsibility for the attack, many suspected it to be North Korean hackers.
However, the hackers are back in the news again as they have now moved to targetting individual cryptocurrency investors. A news portal BTCNN reported that to execute their fraudulent activities they send their victims an email with infected file attachments, immediately the victim downloads the file, it infects the computer and takes total control of the machine. It is at that point these criminals can carry out their fraudulent activities.
Simon Choi the founder of IssueMakersLab, a cyber warfare research group was quoted by the South China Morning Post (SCMP) as saying that he had confirmed the change in the modus operandi of North Korean hackers. Choi said, “Direct attacks on exchanges have become harder, so hackers are thinking about alternatively going after individual users with weak security. They targeted staff at the exchanges, but now they are attacking cryptocurrency users directly. With the US, the UN and others imposing sanctions on the North Korean economy, North Korea is in a difficult position economically, and cryptography has come to be seen as a good opportunity.”
Although it seems to be bit of a stretch, accusing North Korea of hacking and pilfering, it certainly wouldn’t be a complete shocker if that was indeed the case.
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