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North Korea ‘Used LinkedIn, Telegram’ in USD 7m Crypto Exchange Hack

Tim Alper
Last updated: | 1 min read

A report claims that the infamous North Korean hacking group Lazarus used LinkedIn and Telegram messages as part of a raid that saw it make off with some USD 7 million from Singapore-based exchange DragonEx in March 2019.

Source: iStock/mactrunk

Per Radio Free Asia, which quoted data from the Chainalysis 2020 Crypto Crime Report, Lazarus hackers created what appear to be fake LinkedIn accounts, in a bid to distribute malware that “senior managers” at the exchange installed on their computers.

The report contains screenshots of a LinkedIn profile for a user named Gabe Frank, listed as the “founder“ and “Tech CTO” of a “wallet company” named WFC Proof.

According to Radio Free Asia, Chainalysis claims that the hackers, posing as Frank, sent unnamed executives at DragonEx messages via both LinkedIn and Telegram and eventually convinced them to download the malware – believing it to be the trial version of an above-board cryptocurrency trading bot.

Instead, it appears the program contained malware that allowed Lazarus to obtain the private keys for the exchange’s wallets.

In a previous excerpt from the Chainalysis report, the firm claimed,

“While the DragonEx hack was relatively small, it was notable for the lengths Lazarus Group went in order to infiltrate the exchange’s systems in a sophisticated phishing attack. Lazarus created a fake company […] complete with a slick website and social media presence for made-up employees. Lazarus even went so far as to build a software product resembling the trading bot they claimed to be selling.”

Learn more:
UN: North Korea Turns Talented Children into Cryptocurrency Hackers
The Darknet Still Loves Bitcoin – and Doesn’t Care About Prices
Corrupt OTC Brokers Sent Dirty USD 1.5bn in Bitcoin to Binance and Huobi – Report