IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

TraderTraitor: North Korean State-Sponsored APT Targets Blockchain Companies

 Summary

Actions to take today to mitigate cyber threats to cryptocurrency:
• Patch all systems.
• Prioritize patching known exploited vulnerabilities.
• Train users to recognize and report phishing attempts.
• Use multifactor authentication.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), and the U.S. Treasury Department (Treasury) are issuing this joint Cybersecurity Advisory (CSA) to highlight the cyber threat associated with cryptocurrency thefts and tactics used by a North Korean state-sponsored advanced persistent threat (APT) group since at least 2020. This group is commonly tracked by the cybersecurity industry as Lazarus Group, APT38, BlueNoroff, and Stardust Chollima. For more information on North Korean state-sponsored malicious cyber activity, visit https://www.us-cert.cisa.gov/northkorea.

The U.S. government has observed North Korean cyber actors targeting a variety of organizations in the blockchain technology and cryptocurrency industry, including cryptocurrency exchanges, decentralized finance (DeFi) protocols, play-to-earn cryptocurrency video games, cryptocurrency trading companies, venture capital funds investing in cryptocurrency, and individual holders of large amounts of cryptocurrency or valuable non-fungible tokens (NFTs). The activity described in this advisory involves social engineering of victims using a variety of communication platforms to encourage individuals to download trojanized cryptocurrency applications on Windows or macOS operating systems. The cyber actors then use the applications to gain access to the victim’s computer, propagate malware across the victim’s network environment, and steal private keys or exploit other security gaps. These activities enable additional follow-on activities that initiate fraudulent blockchain transactions.

The U.S. government previously published an advisory about North Korean state-sponsored cyber actors using AppleJeus malware to steal cryptocurrency: AppleJeus: Analysis of North Korea’s Cryptocurrency Malware. The U.S. government has also previously published advisories about North Korean state-sponsored cyber actors stealing money from banks using custom malware:

This advisory provides information on tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) and indicators of compromise (IOCs) to stakeholders in the blockchain technology and cryptocurrency industry to help them identify and mitigate cyber threats against cryptocurrency. 

Click here for a PDF version of this report. 


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