Lazarus – A Hacker Group reportedlyfundedby NorthKorea, hasstolena staggering $571 Mln in digital currencies since early 2017, a study conducted bya cyber crimecompany Group-IB reveals. Key takeaways from the study were published recently,along an elaboratedannual report, entitled “Hi-Tech Crime Trends.”
The report, dedicated to hacks in 2017 and 2018, identifies the allegedly state-sponsored hacker group Lazarus asto blame for$571 Mln of the $882 Mln total in crypto that wasstolenfromon-lineexchangesthroughoutthe studied time period;virtually65%ofthe wholesum.
Out of the 14 separate exchange breaches,5areattributed to thegroup, among them thefirmsrecord-breaking $532 Mln NEM hack of Japan’s Coincheck earlierJan this year.
The report states that hackers target cryptocurrency exchange employing principally ‘traditional’ ways,together withspear phishing, social engineering, and malware:
“After thenativenetwork issuccessfullycompromised through downloaded malwares, the hackers browse thenativenetworkto seek outwork stations and servers usedoperatingwithprivatedigital wallets.”
The report,additionallyincludes acyber crimeforecast, predicted thatthe no.of attacks on exchanges are to extendin mere future, asan alternatetothe traditionaltargets such as banks.
Group-IB alsoindicates that ICO platformsare theprimarily targets for hackers, revealing that10%of total funds raised from token sales in 2017–2018 werecompromised. A majority of illicit activity targeting ICOs was reportedly conducted through phishingways, with Group-IB estimatingthat giantphishingteams have thecapabilityto steal around $1 Mln a month.
Additionally, Group-IB suggests that mining poolsmightprovea simpletarget for51%attacks by state-sponsored hackers.Attemptat such attacks, albeit withrestrictedsuccess,areaforementionedto alreadyairthis increase.
U.S.specialistshave previously alleged thatNorth Koreais “increasingly” turning to crypto as amaneuverto bypasssanctions, claiming that the country’s government is hiringfolksto “launder” cryptocurrencies via multiple wallets and exchanges,along with as so called mixed services, with the aim ofgettingsanction-free USD’s.