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North Korea hacking increasingly focused on making money more than espionage

North Korea hacking increasingly focused on making money more than espionage

North Korea’s hackers prefer money more than espionage secrets, says the recent study by a South Korean state-backed agency.  

The hackers from North Korea prefer to crash the financial institutions where there is a lot of money rather the state agencies. Electronic robbery of the banks in South Korean and around the world allow hackers to steal cash for the impoverished country. These data were published in the recent research of the South Korean state-backed agency.

The North Korean isolated regime is suspected to be behind a hacking group called Lazarus, which global cybersecurity firms have linked to multi million cyber heists (Bangladesh central bank in 2016, attack on Sony’s Hollywood studio in 2014).

Hackers from North Korea hack the banks, not state agencies: new trend

According to the Russian cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab identified a hacking group called Bluenoroff (Lazarus’ spin off) in April. This group focused on attacking mostly foreign financial institutions. Another Lazarus’ spin off – Andariel – was mentioned in 2015-2017 report, too:

“Bluenoroff and Andariel share their common root, but they have different targets and motives. Andariel focuses on attacking South Korean businesses and government agencies using methods tailored for the country.”


FireEye cybersecurity analyst Luke McNamara confirms the current trend of increasing the activity of North Korean hackers – they are transforming into some kind of fundraisers who operate on the illegal basis:

“We’ve seen an increasing trend of North Korea using its cyber espionage capabilities for financial gain. With the pressure from sanctions and the price growth in cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum – these exchanges likely present an attractive target,”

he said.