It is no surprise that foreign cyber attacks have recently been attempted on the Bitcoin industry. Officials state that the latest campaign looks to come from The Lazarus Group, and already well-known hacking group based in North Korea. And their targets seem to be the cryptocurrency executives.
The Lazarus Group can be remembered for their part in the outbreak of the WannaCry ransomware, as well as the cyber-heist on the Central Bank of Bangladesh, from which they received over eighty million dollars. They were also behind Sony’s hacking, but now have moved on to a scam known as Secureworks. They send emails, citing an open position for a Chief Financial Officer, that contain a Word document that is infected.
ZDNet has reported that clicking on that Word file unleashes malware that then allows the attacker to access the computer on which it resides. No one knows at this point if anyone has actually become a victim of the scheme or if the Lazarus Group has come away with any Bitcoin.
The idea of a North Korean Phishing scam has bits of both the old and new. On the one hand, we know that most countries did not even take cryptocurrency seriously until very recently. On the other hand, we are very near the point at which a single Bitcoin will be worth twenty thousand dollars. Even rogue nations are beginning to use their military in efforts to steal the cryptocurrency.
Then again, the Phishing antics are quite familiar. The act of privateering, which is actually a military tactic that is centuries old, is what it seems to boil down to. All those years ago, Kings would grant letters that allowed these privateers to roam oceans and scavenge merchant ships that belonged to enemies. These days, North Korea sends out digital operators for basically the same purposes, only the booty in this case, is the Bitcoin.
It is no longer the excitement of the massive naval battles, complete with swords and cannons, but the bounty to be had is as lucrative, if not more so than it was all those years ago. Since Bitcoin can be used anonymously, no one even has to know who it is that is using the Bitcoin for purchases. Therefore, although you may know that Bitcoin has been plundered, it will not be nearly as easy to mark it, or to find and retrieve it, as it was with actual in-hand money.