North Korean group of hackers known as “Lazarus” has been accused of being responsible for the robbery of more than $500 million in cryptocurrencies, since 2017.
According to a research by IB Group – one of the most recognized cybersecurity companies in the world – since January of the last year, Lazarus has been linked to 14 cyberattacks to the crypto ecosystem, heisting about $571 million in total.
The study carried out by the company founded in 2003, reinforces the information provided by authorities of the Asian country last February. At that time, the National Intelligence Service (NIS) said that hacking techniques such as phishing, social engineering and malware generated millions of dollars in customer funds in 2017.
It was also reported that there was an open investigation to determine if the same group of hackers was responsible for the infamous crypto heist to Tokyo-based Coincheck in January 2018.
On the other hand, it was reported that the total amount obtained from the thievery of cryptocurrencies between 2017 and 2018 amounts to $882 million.
Likewise, they warned that crimes like this are likely to continue proliferating, since an increasing number of hackers are showing interest in crypto assets for the possibilities of profiting without being tracked down so easily.
The Lazarus Group
Little is known about the mysterious Lazarus Group or its members, except that they are an organization of hackers that began their illicit activities in 2009. Until now, the identity of their accomplices remains anonymous, but it is presumed that the group is from North Korea.
One thing for sure, is that Lazarus gained notoriety over the last years due to the number of successful cyber-attacks carried out against different institutions. The first attack attributed to the organization was “Operation Flame” in which they used first-gen malware against the South Korean government.
“Operation Troy” was its next attack, which aimed to tear down websites of the same government by saturating their servers.
One of its most notable attacks was against Sony Pictures back in 2014, in which they hacked their servers and released all kinds of confidential information, including emails, personal information and even data from unpublished movies.
Later in 2015, banks in Ecuador, Vietnam, Poland and Mexico became their targets, with the Austro Banks and the Tien Phong Bank losing about 13 million dollars. In 2016, a theft of $81 million to the Bank of Bangladesh was reported.
Lastly, it is believed that they were the perpetrators of the WannaCry ransomware attack, the largest global cyber-attack in recent times, which managed to block access to more than 20,000 computers from public and private institutions in 150 countries, and demanding ransom payments in Bitcoin.