South Korean Politician: North Has Stolen USD 310M in Crypto Since 2019
A senior South Korean opposition politician has claimed hackers from the North have raided South Korean crypto wallets to the tune of almost USD 310m over the past two years.
According to Chosun, Ha Tae-keung, the former head of the New Conservative Party and currently an MP for the main opposition People Power Party, says that he is aiming to stand for election at next year’s presidential elections.
He claimed that in addition to the 35 cases of hacking identified by the UN in 2019 – whereby USD 2bn was allegedly raided by North Korean cybercriminals (wich the country denies), Ha stated that he had seen evidence that in the two years since, Pyongyang-backed hackers have made off with a further USD 310m worth of tokens from South Korean wallets.
Ha added that North Korean raiders have also successfully carried out attacks on the Korea Internet & Security Agency (KISA) – the government-run intelligence unit tasked with carrying out anti-cybercrime efforts.
Gina Kim, a Seoul-based IT security expert, told Cryptonews.com:
“While it is true that crypto exchanges were once seen as low-hanging fruit, with lax security protocols and money lying around in hot wallets, much of that has changed in the past couple of years. Some exchanges now have very good security measures and well-trained staff. That’s why most attackers are now targetting the customers themselves with sophisticated spear-phishing and voice phishing or social engineering attacks. I can’t tell you if these attackers come from North Korea or not, but they certainly are mainly Korean-speaking.”
Ha claimed that were he to be elected, he would transform KISA into a more formidable opponent for would-be hackers. He stated that the agency should be consolidated and made to answer directly to the president’s offices.
He added that “millions of USD” worth of crypto was being stolen from “the people’s wallets,” while the government did little to fight back. Ha claimed that incidents like these damaged South Korea’s international reputation, and concluded: “I will make the Republic of Korea the safest country around, protecting it from the threat of cybercrime, including hacking.”
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