Posted on April 16, 2020 at 3:57 PM
Information security is one of the major worries of most businesses in the world today. With the increased rate of cyberattacks currently going on, many business organizations and government institutions are making cybersecurity their priority. With billions of dollars at stake in some cases, there is a need to secure data and information at all costs.
To show its level of seriousness, the US government is offering a $5 million bounty to anyone who could provide information leading to the capture of the notorious North Korean hacking syndicate. The report was published jointly by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Homeland Security, Treasury, and Department of State.
North Korea using hackers to prevent sanctions
The content of the joint report revealed the recent operations by the North Korean hacking group. It’s a copy of the previous report by the UN Security Council, which detailed the hacking strategy the country is using to generate funds for the Pyongyang regime. North Korea has always used hackers to carry out their phishing activities to prevent any international sanctions that may arise from the situation.
Some of these activities include Cryptojacking operations, thefts on banks and other financial institutions, and thefts and attacks on cryptocurrency exchanges. These hackers, who are working for the North Korean Government, use various types of extortion methods to raise funds for its government.
They are contracted by third party clients to hack websites. After the deal, they use the opportunity to extort the hacked sites. They sometimes seek for ransom from a compromised network, threatening to shut them down if the ransom is not paid.
US officials revealed that the Korean hacking syndicates have targeted the financial sector, with more than $2 billion stolen and remitted to the hermit kingdom.
According to the joint report, “the hackers are now posing a significant threat to the integrity and stability of the international financial system.”
Organizations need to strengthen their security
The report has also warned companies and financial institutions within the industry and other industries to improve on their security against the Korean cyber group. It also advised them to link their resources to the US government information related to DPRK threats. According to the reports, the resources will help organizations understand the nature of these DPRK attacks and provide security against them.
It would enable them to secure IT infrastructure against the hacking and malware tactics of Korean hackers.
Organizations helping the hackers will be sanctioned
The US has also warned any company that may be directly or indirectly working with the Korean hacking syndicates to steal funds. The US government said there will be sanctions against that company, which may include the seizure of assets and funds of the company.
The US on the frontline to dismantle Korean hacking group
The joint report is not the first time the US government has acted seriously to bring down the Korean hacking syndicate. In September last year, the US government sanctioned three other North Korean hacking syndicates – Bluenoroff, Andarei, and Lazarus.
Two months later, the Department of Justice indicted a proponent of the Ethereum crypto project. He was indicted for educating North Korean students on ways of using cryptocurrency to avoid sanctions.
Just last month, the US government showed its commitment once again when the US Department of Justice prosecuted two Chinese nationals for their roles in money laundering through Lazarus hack.
The joint report issued by the US security services is coming barely 24 hours after North Korea sent cruise missiles close to South Korea’s border. South Korea is preparing for its parliamentary election.
From the statement from the report, it’s obvious the US government is more concerned that the hackers are helping the North Korean present government fund its nuclear missile programs. That’s why the US recently offered a bounty to identify and bring down the hacking group.
The government hopes the joint statement would also help organizations improve their level of security awareness and prevent the activities of the North Korean hackers. It will help neutralize the funding of North Korea’s nuclear program.