Recently, Live Bitcoin News reported that the U.S. was looking to sue North Korea over several million dollars-worth of cryptocurrency that had been stolen over the past year via cyberattacks on two separate exchanges. There has been a break in the story in that the U.S. is no longer planning to file suit, as it has already gained access to the nearly 300 accounts that the stolen money had been filtered into. The country is now moving to transfer these funds back into American digital wallets.
North Korea Is at a Disadvantage
North Korea has a long history of stealing cryptocurrencies from its neighbors and other regions across the globe. The area is home to Lazarus, one of the largest and most deadly crypto theft rings in the world. Coming to fruition in the year 2007, Lazarus has seemingly made its way into trading platforms and digital wallets everywhere and made off with hundreds of millions in crypto in the last ten years.
But now it looks like the U.S. and other areas are beginning to fight back. Rather than go through all the legal red tape and draw the process out, the United States is moving swiftly and taking control of the situation before things can get any worse. The fact is that the money was initially owned by Americans and stored in American accounts. Thus, it does not belong to North Korea and should be moved back swiftly and without question.
Brigadier General Joe Hartman – commander of the Cyber National Mission Force – explained:
Department of Defense cyber operations do not occur in isolation. Persistent engagement includes acting through cyber-enabled operations as much as it involves sharing information with our interagency partners to do the same.
North Korea is a nuclear state, and thus has incurred sanctions from the United States and its allies. As a result, the country’s native currency has been fading, and regulators are turning to cryptocurrency as a means of ensuring their people get what they need, though many of the crypto North Korean leaders have gotten their fingers on in recent years has been stolen outright from other sources and used to further fuel nuclear tests and additional launches.
North Korea, despite all the measures in place to keep it at a standstill, continues to test and expand its nuclear program. The crypto from the recent seizures likely would have gone towards the same thing. However, experts were able to tag onto two separate North Korean actors who were using an email address that allegedly contained malware. This malware gave away the actors’ identities quickly, along with the recent phishing attacks employed and the digital addresses that had been victimized.
Sharing Info, Getting the Job Done
Air Force Captain Katrina J. Cheesman said:
As it does with many of its interagency partners, U.S. Cyber Command shared key information with the DOJ, which enabled an investigation and resulted in the asset forfeiture complaint.