As Bitcoin Futures made their debut on the CME exchange, the price of Bitcoin has crossed over $19,000 notwithstanding initial jitters. Only time can tell whether investors’ enthusiasm will sustain such high Bitcoin prices, but the recent piece of news suggests that there is another category of people taking immense attention in the cryptocurrency, which is unlikely to wane over time.
Secureworks, the company providing intelligence-driven security solutions, issued a press release on Friday stating that its Counter Threat Unit researchers discovered that Lazarus Group, the North Korean cyber threat group, had launched a spearphishing campaign using the lure of a job offer at a European-based cryptocurrency company. According to the researchers, this is a continuation of the activity first observed last year and it is likely that this is an ongoing campaign. (Source: Media Alert – Secureworks Discovers North Korean Cyber Threat Group, Lazarus, Spearphishing Financial Executives of Cryptocurrency Companies, Secureworks Corp, December 15, 2017)
Moreover, the researchers have discovered evidence of North Korea’s interest in the popular cryptocurrency since at least 2013.
This attack follows the multiple intrusion activities against many bitcoin exchanges in South Korea, which have been tentatively attributed to North Korea. Another recent news report says that at least $7 million in digital money was stolen as North Korea hacked the cryptocurrency exchange in South Korea, together with the personal information of about 30,000 people. (Source: North Korea ‘hacked crypto-currency exchange in South’, BBC, December 16, 2017)
Virtual currencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum are traded on the Bithumb cryptocurrency exchange in South Korea and based on recent trading volumes, it is the country’s biggest and one of the five largest exchanges in the world.
Analysts are of the opinion that North Korean hackers may have targeted cryptocurrencies in order to evade the financial sanctions imposed on the country. Given the soaring prices of Bitcoin, it has become the target of such attacks. Given the fact that there is no lack of optimism over the bright future of Bitcoin, these cyberthreats are most likely to intensify in the near future, and from every part of the world.
Secureworks suggests that cryptocurrency companies should implement training for social engineering for their employees on a regular basis. They should teach them about the latest cyber threats and remind them not to open links from unknown sources.
With the euphoria surrounding Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies refusing to come down, it is most likely that such threats shall also keep increasing in magnitude. And such attacks make the world of cryptocurrencies even more volatile and riskier.