Google recently made a startling discovery revolving around North Korean hackers and cybersecurity researchers. According to the search engine’s Threat Analysis Group, the former is targeting the latter and going after them via a variety of social media platforms.
The alleged hackers supposedly work their con by posing as researchers, while also created several fake social media profiles on platforms that include Twitter and LinkedIn. If that wasn’t enough, they also set up fake blogs that they then get the unsuspecting researcher to write guest posts about software bugs that they’ve encountered.
The deception doesn’t stop there either. Once enough trust has been gained, the hacker would then make the step to ask the researcher if they would work together. If they agreed, the hacker would then share “collaboration tools” with them; unbeknown to the researcher, those tools actually contain malicious codes that, once opened, installs malware on to the researcher’s system.
At least two of mentioned accounts contacted me via DM. Always happy to help if I can, but their attempt was too shady to interact: https://t.co/yqJNc6CGML pic.twitter.com/3NCh912lWu
— Hossein Lotfi (@hosselot) January 26, 2021
Google says that one likely reason behind North Korea’s decision to target cybersecurity researcher is also one of the most obvious: it’s so that the country and its team of hackers can gain insight into security vulnerabilities and then exploit them for their own nefarious purpose.
It goes without saying and we’re sure that you all know, that this isn’t North Korea’s first time both under the spotlight and on the cybersecurity stage. The company has proven its cyber prowess in the past, the most prominent case in recent memory being the hacking of Sony Pictures in 2014. Because of the movie, The Interview, which featured a satirical adaptation of Kim Jong Un, the current communist dictator and ruler of the country.
The country has also been known to engage in cyber thievery, the most common among them having been the alleged theft of Bitcoin over the past several years.
(Source: Ars Technica, Hossein Lotfi via Twitter // Image: Ars Technica)
Axl Tan contributed to this article.
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