North Korea cybercrime gang chases Bitcoin as price surges to £13,000

North Korea cybercrime gang chases Bitcoin as price surges to £13,000 The surging price of cryptocurrencies in global markets is catching the eye not just of ordinary retail investors but a cybercrime gang with links to the North Korean government, according to cyber researchers tracing the groups activities The Lazarus cybercrime group is mounting an ongoing scheme to steal the online credentials of bitcoin industry insiders, a report published by researchers at US cyber security firm Secureworkss Counter Threat Unit (CTU) said

Cybersecurity firms including Secureworks suspect North Korea to be behind the Lazarus group, which they link to a £60 million cyber heist last year at the Bangladesh central bank and a 2014 attack on Sonys Hollywood studio  A spokesman for Secureworks said: “Given the current rise in bitcoin prices, CTU suspects that North Korea´s interest in cryptocurrency remains high and (it) is likely continuing its activities surrounding the cryptocurrency”    Prices for the volatile cryptocurrency surged past £7,514 ($10,000) late last month and have continued to race upward toward £15,000 ($20,000)  A single bitcoin traded above £13,100 ($17,500) on Friday, up more than seven percent on the day and more than 18 times in the year to date

Secureworks said as recently as last month it had monitored a targeted email campaign aiming to trick victims into clicking on a compromised link for a job opening for a chief financial officer role at a London cryptocurrency company Those who clicked on the hiring link were infected by malicious code from an attached document in the email that installed software to take remote control of a victims device, allowing hackers to download further malware or steal data This malware shares technical links with former campaigns staged by the mysterious cybercrime group Lazarus, which Secureworks has labelled Nickel Academy  Secureworks did not say whether anyone who received the email actually clicked on the link The so-called spearphishing attempt appears to have been delivered on October 25, but initial activity was observed by Secureworks researchers dating back to 2016

  The researchers said in a statement they believe the efforts to steal credentials are still on-going Recent intrusions into several bitcoin exchanges in South Korea have been tentatively attributed to North Korea, it said Secureworks researchers have found evidence dating back to 2013 of North Korean interest in bitcoin, when multiple user names originating from computers using extremely rare North Korean internet addresses were found researching bitcoin The same internet addresses were linked to previous North Korean cyber attacks A spokeswoman for Secureworks said the company was releasing its preliminary findings now and a more complete report would be published later

North Korea has been backed into a corner after the UN slapped it with a raft of sanctions leading the rogue state to suffer under harsh conditions and a slow down of funds The sanctions were imposed after the North launched a series of nuclear missile tests this year sparking fears of World War 3 amid a trade-off of threats between Kim and US President Donald Trump

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