They are considered the most notorious group of hackers in the world, celebrated and copied by cybercriminals, feared by secret services around the world. the Lazarus Group from North Korea is believed to be behind some of the most devastating hacks of the 21st century. Also the $625 million hack of the popular blockchain game Infinity Ax According to a recent FBI report, it is attributed to North Korean shadow warriors. It was the biggest crypto heist of all time so far. What do we know about Kim Jong-un’s cyber army – and how dangerous is it for the crypto space?
Lazare funds the nuclear weapons program
The identity of the members of Lazare is still secret today. According to the FBI, the collective acts directly on behalf of the North Korean regime. The first attacks date back to 2009. Lazarus is said to consist of several thousand hackers with their own sub-units. They operate industrial espionage, create chaos, steal funds. Lazarus has long been underestimated. Today, the collective is one of the most powerful weapons in the arsenal of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un. According to the UN, the dictator finances his illegal nuclear weapons program with the hundreds of millions of dollars that his army of hackers pour into North Korea’s war chests each year.
The most notorious hacker attacks
Banks, pharmaceutical companies, defense contractors and sometimes entire countries are regularly targeted by hackers. Lazarus rose to fame with a disastrous attack on Sony Entertainment in 2014. According to their own statements, the group stole several terabytes of personal data from employees, producers and Hollywood stars without being noticed for months and published parties as punishment for the movie “The Interview”. ”, a comedy about the assassination of Kim Jong-un.
In 2017, the collective released a new form of malware to the world, WannaCry. More than 230,000 computers in 150 countries are infected, users are blackmailed. Europol calls the hack an attack “of unprecedented proportions”. It is later learned that the computer virus was invented by the NSA itself, presumably reaching Lazarus via Russian hackers.
Lazarus attacks the crypto market
Since 2018, the crypto market has also been a popular target for Lazarus. The group steals hundreds of millions of dollars each year, according to data leader Chainalysis. In 2020 alone, it was 500 million from the crypto exchange Kucoin, the worst hack of the year.
The FBI has repeatedly warned this year that Lazarus is increasing its activities in the crypto sector. A recent report cites several targets the Shadow Army may target in the future, including crypto exchanges, decentralized finance (DeFi) protocols, venture capital funds, crypto whales, and non-fungible token holders ( NFT). The US Secret Service recently created its own task force for the escalation of cyber warfare in the crypto space.
According to data service provider Elliptic, Lazarus was able to launder a fifth of the funds from the current Axie hack. The group’s Ethereum address is now blacklisted and blocked by crypto exchanges and Tornado Cash mixer by order of US authorities. Hackers have used its services to launder stolen cryptocurrencies. Currently, there are still 147,753 Ethereum on the wallet, or approximately US$444 million.
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