North Korea’s US$400 Million Heist
Dark Web Hackers Enriching North Korea
Last year 2021 was a great year despite the current hardship brought on by the three years of the novel coronavirus pandemic. However, it was an even more extremely lucrative year for the North Korean regime. A massive $400 million heist by dark web hackers linked to Kim Jong Un handed the country a wonderful gift to celebrate.
And now with that wonderful present comes the moment of reckoning, with the hackers behind the heist being hunted by the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
With the help of the North Korean government, the threat actors primarily targeted and robbed online cryptocurrency exchanges and financial institutions. And by infiltrating and hijacking the private networks of these companies, they demand a ransom, which is paid in cryptocurrency to restore the networks.
According to Chainalysis, which is responsible for analyzing the cryptographic currency block, by using a software that mixes currencies the dark web hackers were able to hide their loot in small caches of cash.
The currency mixing software with its intriguing configuration, after being split into several smaller payments, the stolen money is delivered to freshly established wallets, and afterward, the stolen cash is sent to a different account after being aggregated into significantly larger sums.
New Love for Hackers; Ether
The most popular and expensive cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, is no longer the first option for hackers, who commit ransomware attacks on businesses throughout the year. By 2021, Ether is now the most sought after crypto asset by dark web hackers; it has surpassed Bitcoin as the most stolen currency.
Ether price has increased steadily since it became the new top target for deep web threat actors. According to cyber security specialists’ analytical reports, Ether has accounted for a whopping 58% of cryptographic funds stolen since 2020.
Meanwhile, Bitcoin has dropped from 50 percent as the most stolen cryptocurrency. With its steady decline in theft; it is currently at about 20 percent since the beginning of 2019.
Dark Web Hackers Shun Bitcoin
The price of Bitcoins hovering at US$32,000.00 for a single bitcoin makes them too valuable to lose. And it’s possible that Bitcoin’s current value makes them way too important for shareholders to risk not protecting them with the most advanced security safeguards. The iron-clad protection is hampering dark web hackers from stealing the Bitcoin currency.
According to cyber researchers, the data reveals that crypto criminality has exploded since the Covid19 outbreak began, especially with dark web hackers now transitioning from Bitcoin to Ether. The cyber security analysts also explained that the North Korean government has constructed a very complex system that benefits the Lazarus Group, along with other criminal hackers that aim to enrich the secretive and isolated North Korean regime.
President Kim Jong Un’s country, North Korea, has risen to the top of the cryptocurrency-enabled transnational hacking crime syndicate thanks to its well-organized platform. The US$400 million theft has progressed the country and portrayed its hackers’ reputation as one of the most dangerous in the world since 2019.