The US State Department vowed to give up to $10 million to anyone who gives valuable information that could be used against North Korean cryptocurrency hacking collectives. The amount is double the previous bounty promised in March 2022.
The Agency Needs Help
North Korean hacking groups have been a significant burden for the American authorities for years now. Such entities stood behind some of the biggest exploits in the recent past, draining millions of dollars worth of crypto from organizations.
Chainalysis estimated that North Korean cyber criminals stole almost $400 million in digital assets in 2021 alone as the funds were collected mainly from exchanges and investment firms.
Last month, Elliptic claimed that the notorious cyber gang based in the East Asian country – the Lazarus – was the one that breached Harmony and drained $100 million worth of Ethereum.
The US State Department seems to be struggling with those bad actors since it disclosed a $10 million award for information that could disturb their activities:
“If you have any information on any individuals associated with North Korean government-linked malicious cyber groups (such as Andariel, APR38, Bluenoroff, Guardians of Peace, Kimsuky, or Lazarus Group) and who are involved in targeting US critical infrastructure in violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, you may be eligible for a reward.”
The problems faced by the US State Department when battling those hackers might be because cyber criminals use sophisticated techniques to steal and launder cryptocurrencies. In February this year, the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) placed the Lazarus Group among the most advanced hackers worldwide, describing them as a “masterful army of cybercriminals and foreign affiliates.”
The award is twice bigger than the $5 million announced four months ago. Back then, the agency argued that North Korean hackers attack crypto exchanges and financial institutions to steal funds, which later support the totalitarian regime in their homeland.
North Korea is the World’s Champion in Crypto Crime
A few weeks ago, the digital asset exchange aggregator – Coincub – determined that the East Asian country has become the world’s crypto hacking superpower. North Korean cyber criminals have reportedly drained over $1.5 billion of digital currencies in recent years.
Coincub further claimed that the Pyongyang government controlled all attacks, while some of the gang members could have a close relation to Kim Jong-un and his inner circle.
The USA, Russia, China, and the UK are the other nations part of the top 5 where crypto hacking groups thrive.