North Korean hackers tried to steal $1.3B in series of heists, DOJ says

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North Korean hackers tried to steal $1.3B in series of heists, DOJ says

Three North Korean military hackers attempted to steal more than $1.3 billion in a number of complex heists to enrich the hermit reg

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Three North Korean military hackers attempted to steal more than $1.3 billion in a number of complex heists to enrich the hermit regime, according to a newly unsealed Department of Justice indictment Tuesday.

The trio, who were described by justice officials as “the world’s leading bank robbers,” defrauded victims in dozens of countries, including in the United States, and were members of an elite North Korean military intelligence bureau, prosecutors said.

“The scope of these crimes by the North Korean hackers is staggering,” said Tracy Wilkinson, the acting US attorney in Los Angeles.

“They are the crimes of a nation state that has stopped at nothing to exact revenge and obtain money to prop up its regime,” she said.

The bombshell charge follows the news that North Korea allegedly tried to steal information about COVID-19 vaccines by hacking the drug maker Pfizer.

According to the new indictment, the hackers targeted bank systems around the world and sought to steal a total of $1.3 billion in fiat money and cryptocurrency.

The North Korean hackers also used both simple phishing schemes and complex malware to hack into the computers of victims to steal data and demand payment through extortion.

The men worked to “further the strategic and financial interests of the DPRK government and its leader, Kim Jong Un,” the indictment read.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (center) looking at a computer screen along with soldiers of a long-range artillery unit
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un looking at a computer along with soldiers of a long-range artillery unit
EPA

The DOJ has issued warrants for Jon Chang Hyok, 31, Kim Il, 27, and Park Jin Hyok, 36, who are accused of wire fraud and are believed to be in North Korea.

Federal prosecutors on Tuesday also unsealed a charge against Canadian man Ghaleb Alaumary, who confessed to being a money launderer for the North Korean hackers.

The scheme began in 2014 and the trio reportedly worked from both China and Russia, which provided a “safe harbor” for the hackers.

Intelligence officials said Tuesday that brutal sanctions enforced by other countries had left the hermit nation desperate to get its hands on currency any way it could.

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