North Korean Hackers Behind Attempted DeBridge Attack

North Korean Hackers Behind Attempted DeBridge Attack

DeBridge Co-Founder Alex Smirnov informed users of an attempted cyber attack. The infamous North Korean hacker organization Lazarus Group is suspected to have been behind it.

Attempted Cyber Attack

on August 5th, 2022, Co-Founder and Project Lead at deBridge Finance Alex Smirnov posted a Twitter thread explaining that cross-chain protocol deBridge had been subject to an attempted cyber attack.

DeBridge is a cross-chain interoperability and liquidity protocol for transferring data and assets between blockchains. The company’s internal investigation revealed that the cyberattack likely originated from the North Korea-associated Lazarus Group.

The hackers sent spoofed emails, which appeared as though they had been sent by Smirnov, to DeBridge employees, including an attached PDF file titled “New Salary Adjustments”. Though most employees reported the suspicious email, there was reportedly one who downloaded and opened the associated file. The company claims that it experienced no ill consequences.

"We have strict internal security policies and continuously work on improving them as well as educating the team about possible attack vectors," Smirnov wrote.

North Korea Responsible for High-Profile Crypto Hacks

The Lazarus Group is suspected of being responsible for several high-profile crypto hacks, including the $622 million Axie Infinity Ronin Ethereum sidechain hack carried out in March, and the Harmony Horizon Bridge hack in June.

It seems that email-related cyber attacks are on the rise. On July 28th, 2022, blockchain cybersecurity company Halborn issued an alert regarding a fresh phishing scam that had targeted the users of leading cryptocurrency wallet MetaMask.

On the Flipside

  • According to blockchain security firm Halborn, such attacks are fairly common. “They rely on the inquisitive nature of people by naming the files something that would pique their interest, such as salary information”, said David Schwed, chief operating officer at Halborn.
  • The security firm underlined the rise in the number of attacks specifically targeting blockchain companies, attributing it to the heightened stakes due to the immutability of blockchain transactions.

Why You Should Care

  • North Korea is becoming an epicenter of cyber crime. 10% of North Korea’s GDP is reportedly generated by fraud, theft, and ransomware. Due to the intense international sanctions on its exports, the adoption of crypto in the country highly correlates with crime.
  • In 2019, a UN security council brief claimed that, since 2016, North Korea has used noticeably more hacks as a means of generating revenue for the national treasury. it is estimated tha much of the funds generated from such crimes are used in North Korea’s national defense budget.

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