Transacting with North Korean Hackers Risks Exposure to US Sanctions
Following last month’s Axie Infinity hack on Ronin Network, several efforts heave been made to recover over $600 million lost to North Korean hacker group Lazarus.
Efforts by Binance led to the retrieval of some fractions of what was lost to the hackers. On Friday, US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) made an official announcement on its Twitter page. It reported the addition of three virtual currency wallet addresses to it’s SDN listing. This was in addition to the one already on the list prior to the announcement.
According to the tweet “The DPRK has relied on illicit activities like cybercrime to generate revenue while trying to evade US & UN sanctions”. So the measure was to check and prevent North Koreans form evading both US and UN sanctions through cybercrime. These three wallets added to the list were linked to North Korea and “transacting with these risks exposure to US sanctions”
Crypto Hack The New Focus?
Prior to this new wave of hacks, state sponsored hackers from North Korea have targeted data and other systems. But it looks like there is a shift in focus. And some authorities are already accusing the country of sponsoring hackers to go after crypto projects. According to reports the country allegedly raise funds via these attacks for it’s defense programs.
The recent Ronin hack is just one out of the recent attacks by hackers from the country. In 2021, according to data from Chainalysis. North Korean hackers reportedly made away with about $400 million worth of cryptocurrency. The fact that more than half of the funds stolen by hackers last year points to a possible preference for Ether.
The North Koreans are preparing to Hack again
Crypto expert and DeFiance founder Arthur Cheong tweeted of a possible attack by a North Korean hacker group BlueNorOff. According to him the group is “running an organized campaign to target prominent organizations in the crypto space.”
Speaking of their methods he said; “Given how sophisticated their social engineering attack is, I believe that they already have the relationship graph of the entire crypto space mapped out and know what kind of phishing emails are most likely to slip through our mental defense”.
So it is important “that this industry is highly aware that we are being actively targeted by a state-sponsored cyber crime organization that is extremely resourceful and sophisticated. They might even change the tools and attack pattern in future”, he said.