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North Korean hackers are still coming for cryptos – The latest

TL;DR

  • North Korean government-backed hackers targeted US IT firm JumpCloud in June.
  • Using JumpCloud access, hackers targeted under 5 of its clients in the crypto industry.
  • In 2022, North Korea stole about $700 million in cryptocurrencies.

Cryptocurrency has faced an unrelenting onslaught of security breaches, with the most recent attack tracing back to the North Korean government, demonstrating their continuous cyber threat.

The spotlight has turned towards the United States, where an American IT management firm, JumpCloud, found itself in the crosshairs of these cyber assailants.

The Siege on JumpCloud: A Launchpad to Cryptocurrency Companies

Located in Louisville, Colorado, JumpCloud became an unwitting accomplice in the North Koreans’ cyber warfare in late June.

A government-backed hacking group infiltrated the company’s defense lines, wielding this access as a weapon against a select group of JumpCloud’s clients in the crypto industry.

JumpCloud, in its commitment to transparency and the broader industry’s benefit, shed light on this incident through a blog post.

Collaborating with CrowdStrike, a cyber security firm, they unveiled the breach’s magnitude: less than five clients and fewer than ten devices were affected out of over 200,000 organizations leveraging JumpCloud’s platform for numerous functions, including identity, access, and security management.

A peculiar instance unfolded on June 27 when JumpCloud discovered strange activity on an internal orchestration system. Tracking it back, they unearthed a spear-phishing campaign initiated by the threat actor on June 22.

It was only after thorough investigation and a multitude of actions, including credential rotation, infrastructure rebuilding, and bolstering network security, that the situation came under control.

North Korea’s Rampage in the Crypto World

North Korea’s cyber reach extends far beyond the boundaries of the United States. A senior officer from the National Intelligence Service (NIS) reported that the reclusive nation siphoned off around $700 million in cryptocurrencies in 2022 alone.

To comprehend this figure’s magnitude, it’s comparable to the financial power needed to launch 30 intercontinental ballistic missiles.

But, how significant is this number for North Korea? The NIS officer pointed out that the looted cryptocurrencies contributed to 30% of North Korea’s foreign currency income.

The United Nations, in June 2023, reinforced these claims by estimating North Korean hackers’ 2022 loot to be in the range of $630 million to over a billion dollars.

These hackers are not freelancers working in isolation. Instead, they are an organized force with connections to state-funded organizations like the Lazarus Group, notorious for its association with the $620 million Axie Infinity’s Ronin network hack.

To divert the stolen funds, these hackers employ cryptocurrency mixers like Tornado Cash and Blender. The recent Atomic Wallet hack saw the utilization of one such mixer by the North Korean cyber pirates.

It’s not just South Korea that finds itself battling the North Korean cyber menace. Globally, agencies are making concerted efforts to neutralize this threat.

The U.S. Treasury Department, in April, sanctioned three individuals accused of aiding the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) through illicit financing and harmful cyber activities.

In a world rapidly embracing digital currencies, North Korea’s relentless pursuit of cyber-attacks on the crypto industry signals a pressing need for international intervention and enhanced security measures.

The crypto sphere remains on high alert as it braces for the future, ever wary of the shadow of North Korea looming ominously.

Disclaimer: The information provided is not trading advice. Cryptopolitan.com holds no liability for any investments made based on the information provided on this page. We strongly recommend independent research and/or consultation with a qualified professional before making any investment decision.

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Jai Hamid

Jai Hamid is a passionate writer with a keen interest in blockchain technology, the global economy, and literature. She dedicates most of her time to exploring the transformative potential of crypto and the dynamics of worldwide economic trends.

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