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The US doubles the bounty for North Korean hackers

The US Department of State has increased the reward for information leading to the identification of members from North Korea’s state-sponsored hacker groups such as Lazarus.

Information on threat actors linked to the cyber operations of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) has become a lot more valuable.

The US State Department offers a reward of up to $10m for information on people associated with North Korea’s state-sponsored hackers. The US specifically names several DPRK-linked hacker collectives such as Lazarus Group, Bluenoroff, Guardians of Peace, and others.

According to the statement, hackers from these groups have targeted US critical infrastructure. For the past two years, the reward for information about DPRK hackers stood at $5m.

North Korean hackers

North Korea employs cybercrime to finance its dictatorship, which runs a country mostly closed off from the outside world.

While Lazarus Group, also known as 'Un-usual Suspects' or APT 38, is almost certainly a state-sponsored actor, its primary goals are often financial. Hacker groups operated by state intelligence services often focus more on espionage.

According to Chainalysis, North Korea launched at least seven attacks on cryptocurrency platforms that extracted nearly $400 million worth of digital assets last year.

The FBI claims that DPRK hackers were behind the Ronin exchange hack that netted attackers $620m. Researchers believe that Lazarus Groups was behind the $100m hack of another crypto exchange, Harmony.

A United Nations panel of experts monitoring North Korea's sanctions has accused Pyongyang of using stolen funds to support its nuclear and ballistic missile programs to circumvent sanctions.

Last year the United States charged three North Korean computer programmers working for the country's intelligence service with a massive, years-long hacking spree to steal more than $1.3 billion in money and cryptocurrency, affecting companies from banks to Hollywood movie studios.

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