According to the latest update from the Federal Authorities on Wednesday, February 17, 2021, three North Korea hackers have been arrested. They are facing allegations of carrying out several cyberattacks. The probable motive behind this major conspiracy was an attempt to extort and steal over $1.3 billion in cryptocurrency and cash from different companies and financial institutions.
The North Korea Hackers who are now caught in the act are also part of the country’s military intelligence agency. Before attempting to steal the money, they were also involved in creating and deploying several fraud cryptocurrency applications. Moreover, they were even trying to develop and promote a fraud blockchain platform. All of the information about these hackers is confirmed by the Justice Press Release Department.
The worst part of the story is that the entire process is continuing from 2016 and becomes stronger by 2020. The consecutive spear-phishing campaigns targeted the State Department, US Defense Agencies, and American Defense contractors.
Moreover, several tech firms, aerospace companies, energy firms, and other authorities were also a part of the radar. According to the latest indictment, the hackers also withdrew cash from several ATMs after gaining control of their internal systems. It was all a part of the massive theft scheme.
US Authorities reveal shocking facts about the North Korea hackers
It was during a recent press conference that US Authorities revealed some shocking facts. According to their investigation, the North Korean intelligence agency successfully acquired funds from investors from 2017 to 2018.
When the Marine- Chain token was allowing partial ownership, investors to put money into marine shipping. As a result of the conspiracy, North Korea also successfully takes over US interests and sanctions.
According to the acting US Attorney for the Central District of California, Tracy Wilkinson, the criminal activities of the North Korea hackers are long-running and very extensive. Plus, the crime range, in this case, is staggering. Tracy also mentions that the conduct of North Korea is highly criminal. Plus, she believes that the country is leaving no scope to loot the USA to live off its money.
The three hackers whose names are mentioned in the Los Angeles District court’s latest indictment are between the ages of 27 and 36. They are Jon Chang, Park Jin Hyo, and Kim II, aged 31, 36, and 27 years old. All three of them are part of the same North Korean intelligence agency namely the Reconnaissance General Bureau. The agency engages in high-level criminal hacking activities such as this one.
Previous attacks by North Korean agents hinting towards a revenge motive
Out of the three hackers, Park Jin Hyo has previous experience in carrying out similar hacking activities. In fact, in 2018, he was part of another team carrying out a significant cyberattack on Sony Pictures. The same team was also a part in the creation and development of the WannaCry ransomware.
During the same time, on Wednesday, February 17, 2021, officials reveal that a 37-year old Canadian-American called Ghaleb Alaumary has confessed his crime. He is pleading guilty to being part of an embezzlement case in which he was helping North Korean agents to fulfill their bank heist.
Alaumary was trying to gather people into Canada and the US to fulfill the laundering of several million dollars. The hackers were able to get this money through simple ATM transactions.
While the American officials are hinting towards a revenge motive behind this major conspiracy, experts suggest that the link goes back to 2014. The North Korean agents began planning the attack on Sony Pictures for releasing the movie called The Interview.
The film features assassinations in North Korea. As a result, the North Korean forces were continually trying to attack the big screens, even in 2015 when the release of a fictional series took place.
The story of this series was revolving around a British scientist who North Korea took hostage. The US authorities further reveal that between 2015 and 2019, the hacker team tried to loot over $1.2 billion from financial institutions.
Such operations went viral across Vietnam, Africa, Bangladesh, Malta, Mexico, and Taiwan. The team was breaking into the computer networks of these nations from where they were sending malicious messages via SWIFT bank messaging.
The present situation of Bitcoins and its growing acceptance
Gradually, Bitcoin price is also increasing, and the rate is presently over 75%. The secret here is that more organizations are now willing to accept Bitcoins as an exchange medium and tenders. However, the history of massive cryptocurrency thefts still encourages questions regarding its security. Primarily, it is more of a concern because bitcoins are often to present in digital wallets that are present on free networking sites.
Within the last few years only, hackers and masterminds have successfully stolen over a few billion dollars of bitcoins. All of this is now making it even more valid as to why authorities must reach the root of the problems. Plus, it is also why it is of utmost importance to track down the crooks at the earliest possible.