The US government has rewarded $5 million for information on North Korea’s hackers and their ongoing hacking operations.
The reward for reporting North Korean hackers was announced in a joint report published by the Departments of State, Treasury, Homeland Security, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The joint report contains a summary of North Korea’s recent cyber operations and is based on a UN Security Council report published last year that details the country’s tactic of using hackers to raise funds for the Pyongyang regime, as a novel way to bypass international sanctions.
The tactics observed include:
- Attacks and thefts from banks and other financial entities
- Attacks and thefts from cryptocurrency exchanges
- Cryptojacking operations — where North Korean hackers compromise servers worldwide to mine cryptocurrency
- Various types of extortion campaigns, such as:
– Compromising an entity’s network and threatening to shut it down unless the victim pays a ransom
– Getting paid to hack websites on behalf of third-party clients, and then extorting the targets
– Charging victims “long-term paid consulting arrangements” in order to prevent future attacks
According to the US officials, a lot of these attacks have targeted the financial sector, from where North Korean hackers have managed to steal funds of more than $2 billion.
These hacks have become a significant threat to the integrity and stability of the international financial system.
The financial institutions and companies in other industry must strengthen the protections against North Korea’s hacker groups and must take steps to secure their IT infrastructure against known North Korean malware and hacking tactics.
The US government issues warnings to companies that may be engaging with North Korean entities and might be helping North Korean hackers launder stolen funds.