A North Korean hacking group has reportedly turned its focus towards stealing cryptocurrency as the country’s economy struggles from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

According to a report by Daily NK, the North Korea-based hacking group Lazarus has increased its effort to steal cryptocurrency. The group first became infamous for its hack of Sony Pictures in 2014 over the release of the movie the Interview. Lazarus was also responsible for the high-profile Bangladesh Bank cyber heist in 2016. Lazarus is suspected of being behind several high-profile cryptocurrency exchange hacks.

ESTSecurity, a cybersecurity firm located in Seoul, warned the hacking group was now focused on stealing cryptocurrency.

The report reads, 

Lazarus is carrying out [adaptive persistent threat] APT attacks not only in South Korea but also in the international sphere, including the United States. They are also engaging in cyber-espionage operations as well as activities designed to generate foreign currency.

The hacking group is using malicious emails disguised as updates from cryptocurrency payment services in order to infect user devices. 

According to the Daily NK report, analysts are warning that stealing cryptocurrency could bring “enormous profits” to North Korea, amidst the desolation of the coronavirus pandemic and economic sanctions imposed on the country. 

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