The latest North Korean cryptocurrency hacking attempt is using fake Facebook profiles of attractive women to get an in with crypto workers.
Just when you think the North Korea cryptocurrency hacking attempts can’t get any more bizarre, a new story pops up to burst that assumption. The North Korean regime has spent the last couple of years targeting cryptocurrency in order to gain some much needed revenue, and you have to begrudgingly admire the lengths to which they’ll go. Their latest attempts to get their grubby hands on some crypto features fake Facebook profiles of beautiful women.
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The latest version of the North Korea cryptocurrency hacking attempts definitely takes a page from an old classic of using a pretty face. The South Korean intelligence agency reports that hackers from the communist regime are posing as beautiful women on Facebook and are contacting workers at digital currency exchanges.
While in the guise of a woman, they strike up online conversations with their targets in order to eventually send them files that contain malicious code. The hackers are pretty patient in their subterfuge, as noted by the director of the Seoul cybersecurity firm EST Security, Moon Jong-Hyun. He notes that the hackers often pose as students in US colleges or workers at a research think tank. He also adds:
They open Facebook accounts and maintain the online friendship for months before backstabbing the targets in the end.
North Korea Getting Very Aggressive Online
There’s no doubt that North Korea is stepping up their attacks in cyberspace. They used to focus their attempts on gaining political and military knowledge, but the ongoing sanctions has bled the country dry, so the focus now is on stealing as much currency as possible.
Bitcoinist has covered the North Korean attacks on various Bitcoin exchanges in South Korea, as well as the recent fake job offers sent to cryptocurrency executives. As Simon Choi, the director of the Seoul cybersecurity firm Hauri, notes:
The North’s hacking operations are upgrading from attacks on ‘enemy states’ to a shady, lucrative moneymaking machine in the face of more sanctions.
North Korean agents are also seemingly responsible for the WannaCry ransomware attacks that took control of computer systems in 150 countries back in May 2017. The Trump administration has confirmed, via an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, that North Korea was behind the attack. The op-ed states:
It is based on evidence. We are not alone with our findings, either. Other governments and private companies agree. The United Kingdom attributes the attack to North Korea, and Microsoft traced the attack to cyber affiliates of the North Korean government.
There’s just no letup with North Korea trying to grab as much loot as they can through nefarious means. As for the fake Facebook profiles, there’s no official word on how effective such attempts have been.
However, the sheer patience and the use of the age-old technique of using the personae of a beautiful woman against a young, probably somewhat socially awkward man is often pretty effective. This just continues to show how far North Korea will go to steal cryptocurrency and that you should be careful who you friend on Facebook.
What do you think about the latest North Korea cryptocurrency hacking attempt using fake Facebook profiles of gorgeous women? Let us know in the comments below.
Images courtesy of Wikimedia Commons and Bitcoinist archives.