North Korean hacker charged with large-scale cryptocurrency theft scheme

Federal officials said Wednesday that three North Korean computer programmers were charged with stealing more than $ 1.3 billion in cash and cryptocurrencies from financial institutions and businesses and conducting a series of cyberattacks attempting to blackmail them.

According to a Justice Department press release, a programmer who is a member of North Korea’s military intelligence agency also “created and deployed multiple malicious cryptocurrency applications, developed a blockchain platform and sold it illegally.” Have been blamed.

The scheme will also target US Department of Defense and State Department employees, as well as US-approved defense contractors, energy companies, aerospace companies, and technology company workers from 2016 to early 2020. Authorities say they have repeatedly launched a “fishing campaign.” ..

At a press conference on Wednesday, authorities said the 2017 and 2018 development and marking of so-called marine chain tokens, which would allow investors to purchase some of the ownership of maritime transport vessels equipped with blockchain technology. Will manage the interests of maritime carriers and avoid US sanctions from investors who have stated that North Korea has “allowed them to secretly raise money.” “

“The range of criminal activity by North Korean hackers is wide-ranging and long-term, and the range of crimes they have committed is staggering,” said Tracy Wilkinson, deputy federal district attorney for the Central District of California.

“The actions detailed in the indictment are the actions of a criminal nation-state that has stopped doing nothing to elicit revenge and raise funds to support the administration,” Wilkinson said.

The complaint filed in the US District Court in Los Angeles was the General Reconnaissance Agency, a North Korean military intelligence agency that committed crimes by John Chan (31 and 27 years old Kim Il) and Park Jin Hyo (36). Was a member of the unit. hacking. Authorities noted that Park had previously been charged with a September 2018 criminal accusation detailing a cyberattack on Sony Pictures and the creation of a ransomware known as WannaCry.

At the same time, on Wednesday, authorities agreed that Canadian-American citizen Galeb Alaumary, 37, would plead guilty to a money laundering program, and the indicted North Koreans would “cash cyber”. Announced that it admitted to helping-enabled bank robbery. “

Officials said Alaumary had formed a team of people from the United States and Canada to launder millions of dollars earned by hackers through ATM cashout transactions.

The plot, officials said, was a 2014 attack on Sony for a satirical film “Interview” depicting the assassination of North Korea, motivated for revenge or financial gain, depending on the target, and The movie was screened, which included the targeting of AMC Theaters. Another target was the Mammoth Screen, which produced a fictional series of British scientists taken hostage by North Korea, which was digitally invaded in 2015.

Authorities also said that hackers from 2015 to 2019 could break into computer networks from banks in Vietnam, Bangladesh, Taiwan, Mexico, Malta and Africa and send malicious messages via the SWIFT bank messaging system. Said he tried to steal more than $ 1.2 billion.

As part of the scheme, hackers have been accused of targeting hundreds of cryptocurrency companies and stealing tens of millions of dollars worth of cryptocurrencies.

According to officials, a Slovenian cryptocurrency company was robbed of $ 75 million in such currencies, and hackers stole about $ 25 million worth of cryptocurrencies from Indonesian cryptocurrencies in September 2018, last summer. CryptoNeuroTrader application that stole $ 11.8 million from a New York financial services company using a malicious one.

Defendants also accused of stealing $ 6.1 million from Bank Islami Pakistan Limited as part of a series of ATM cashout schemes, creating WannaCry 2.0 ransomware in 2017, and “blackmail and attempted blackmail of victims” It has been.

The scheme is also said to have developed several malicious cryptocurrency applications since March 2018 that provide North Korean hackers with a backdoor to victims’ computers. Officials said these applications included Celas Trade Pro, WorldBit-Bot, iCryptoFx, Union Crypto Trader, Kupay Wallet, CoinGo Trade, Dorusio, CryptoNeuro Trader and Ants2Whale.

“North Korean agents use keyboards instead of guns to steal cryptocurrency digital wallets instead of cash, but they are world leaders,” said John Demers, deputy attorney for the Department of Justice’s National Security Agency. It’s a bank robbery. ”

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North Korean hacker charged with large-scale cryptocurrency theft scheme

Source link North Korean hacker charged with large-scale cryptocurrency theft scheme

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