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North Korea Could Be Behind Latest Crypto Hackings?

Crypto thefts have been happening ever since the virtual currencies entered the big stage. And as the value of cryptos gets higher, more and more cybercriminals are getting involved in hacking.

Lone wolves, like Joseph Harris from Oklahoma who stole $14M-dollars-worth of crypto got caught pretty easily by the authorities. However, big-scale cryptocurrency thefts that involve a large number of people are very difficult to bust. Especially, if they’re backed by an entire country.

That’s exactly what’s been speculated lately. Some online security experts believe that North Korea is behind at least five hackings of cryptocurrency trading platforms, as well as behind at least two scams involving cryptos.

Cyber Crimes North Korea is suspected of

Two cybersecurity companies, Recorded Future and Group-IB, have recently released reports which claim that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea might be responsible for several online criminal acts.

According to them, at least five hacking attacks on cryptocurrency trading platforms were carried out by a group of hackers going by the name of Lazarus Group. They’re suspected to have hacked the following exchanges: Bithumb, Coincheck, YouBit, Yapizon, and Coinis. The total damage caused to these five platforms is estimated to be more than 570 million US dollars.

But, those aren’t the only cyber-crimes North Korean hackers are accused of. A group called Marine Chain is suspected to have carried out a cryptocurrency scam that stole the money of a number of investors who put money on a fake platform. The platform in question was selling tokens for buying/renting boats and ships.

The other scam North Korean cybercriminals Do We know of is one involving a binary trading website called Binary Tilt, which was banned first in Canada, whose authorities discovered the company’s fraudulent activities.

What We Know about Lazarus Group and Marine Chain?

Lazarus Group a.k.a. HIDDEN COBRA is a group of hackers that’s been around for more than a decade. During that time, they are claimed to have carried out a huge number of highly-publicized cyber-attacks. Although their crimes aren’t confirmed, they’re considered to be involved in the following attacks:

  • 2007 malware attack on the Government of South Korea
  • 2011 “Ten Days of Rain” attack on South Korean media companies
  • 2014 hacking on Sony Pictures
  • 2015 online bank robbery of Banco del Austro ($12 million stolen)
  • 2017/2018 hackings on cryptocurrency exchanges

When it comes to the other group suspected of cryptocurrency scams, its name is Marine Chain, according to the name of the platform they used for their scams. Marine Chain was a ShipOwner.io clone that enabled users to buy tokens that they would later use for buying and renting marine vessels.

According to Recorded Future, a leading cyber-threat intelligence company, Marine Chain was operated by hackers based in Singapore. And according to the same source, they got a serious backup from North Korea.

As of October 2018, no one is still one-hundred percent sure if these hacker organizations really are from North Korea as Kim Jong-un’s government keeps on denying it. It’s needless to say that a majority of cybersecurity experts are doubting their words.

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