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North Korean Hackers Laundered $200 Million in Crypto, Targeting LinkedIn for More

North Korean Hackers Laundered $200 Million in Crypto, Targeting LinkedIn for More

The Lazarus Group, a notorious cybercriminal group backed by North Korea, has laundered over $200 million in stolen cryptocurrency between 2020 and 2023, according to a new report.

This figure represents a portion of the estimated $3 billion stolen by Lazarus in the past six years. The group targets various platforms, including recently exploiting LinkedIn for phishing attacks against crypto professionals.

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Unveiling Lazarus’ Techniques

Cryptocurrency researcher ZachXBT exposed Lazarus’ tactics, revealing their use of:

  • Crypto mixing services: To obfuscate the trail of stolen funds.
  • Peer-to-peer (P2P) marketplaces: Like Paxful and Noones, to convert crypto to fiat currency.
  • Specific usernames: “EasyGoatfish351” and “FairJunco470” were identified on P2P platforms handling stolen funds.

Tether (USDT) was used as a conversion point before ultimately withdrawing cash.

Lazarus’ Impact and the Fightback

This laundering operation highlights the national security concerns surrounding state-sponsored cybercrime. The Lazarus Group is responsible for 17% of all crypto stolen in 2023, totaling over $309 million.

Efforts are underway to combat them, with:

  • Blacklisting: Tether blacklisted over $374,000 in stolen funds, while other stablecoin issuers blacklisted an additional $3.4 million.
  • Exposure: Researchers like ZachXBT play a key role in identifying and exposing Lazarus’ activities.

The Takeaway: A Growing Threat

The Lazarus Group’s sophisticated attacks demonstrate the evolving nature of crypto-based cybercrime. This incident underscores the need for:

  • Heightened security measures: Within the crypto industry and on platforms like LinkedIn.
  • International cooperation: To effectively combat cyber threats.
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Arslan Butt
Index & Commodity Analyst
Arslan Butt serves as the Lead Commodities and Indices Analyst, bringing a wealth of expertise to the field. With an MBA in Behavioral Finance and active progress towards a Ph.D., Arslan possesses a deep understanding of market dynamics.His professional journey includes a significant role as a senior analyst at a leading brokerage firm, complementing his extensive experience as a market analyst and day trader. Adept in educating others, Arslan has a commendable track record as an instructor and public speaker.His incisive analyses, particularly within the realms of cryptocurrency and forex markets, are showcased across esteemed financial publications such as ForexCrunch, InsideBitcoins, and EconomyWatch, solidifying his reputation in the financial community.
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