Three hackers, now known to be part of a much bigger cybercrime organization known as the ‘Lazarus Group,’ have been charged by the U.S Department of Justice for the theft of over 100 million dollars from various cryptocurrency firms.
Although the hackers themselves could be argued to be part of a much bigger crime syndicate, they nevertheless stole assets amounting to over $1.3 billion in total, so it is easy to see why this is of extreme importance. Furthermore, in a related case, a Canadian American was also charged with his involvement in a money-laundering scheme, but it still remains to be seen whether this is part of the larger group or if it’s just an isolated event.
Moreover, there were also allegations levied by the United Nations towards the North Korean government that North Korea was actually funding its nuclear weapons program through these hackers and their crimes. The United Nations holds the belief that nearly 300 million dollars in crypto assets have been stolen by numerous North Korean hackers; however, North Korea itself has denied any confirmation of these allegations at this time.
Crimes Carried Out Through ICOs
Upon further investigation, it was later revealed that the hackers had actually managed to raise funds through the use of initial coin offerings otherwise referred to ICOs and The United Nations has suspicions that this is also affiliated with activities of the North Korean government that took place last year.
Additionally, the Marine Chain ICO is also under heavy investigation for its use in supporting the actions of the hackers; however, it is unclear how much this actually contributed to the crimes that took place. It is also currently unclear whether the conspirators were actually DPRK citizens or whether they had been utilizing communications with fake names and false identities at this time.
Future Actions and FBI Involvement
As an added precaution, the FBI Cybersecurity, as well as the Infrastructure Security Agency along with the Department of Treasury, have all published a joint advisory regarding the use of any crypto-based malware that may have been produced by North Korea.
Lastly, this advisory will also target companies based in the United States itself as well as Canada, Brazil, India, China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Australia and any others which may be deemed as a threat.