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US doubles reward for information on North Korean cybercrime syndicates

The news follows the recent Maui ransomware attacks targeting US public health organizations

North Korea

The US State Department has announced an additional $5 million reward for information on cyber threat actors having roots in North Korea.

The new reward, which amounts to $10 million, also holds for information on Andariel, Bluenoroff, Kimsuky, and the notorious Lazarus Group implicated in the 2017 WannaCry ransomware attack.

Albeit much is not known about the stealthy Lazarus syndicate, the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation cites the cyber group as a North Korean "state-sponsored hacking organization".

The US Rewards for Justice program now invites anyone with intel on the aforementioned North Korean cybercriminal groups to send tips via its secure TOR-based tip line.

The news comes hot on the heels of the Justice Department seizing funds worth approximately half a million dollars in cryptocurrency from North Korean threat actors operating the never-before-seen Maui ransomware strain. 

The seized funds include ransoms paid by health care organizations in Kansas and Colorado, according to a July 19 statement from the Justice Department

“Our research exhibits that the proceeds of cyber legal actions from notorious teams akin to Lazarus and APT38 – that are each named by the US State Division – are getting used to bypass worldwide sanctions in North Korea,” said Kevin Bocek, vice-president of safety technique and menace intelligence at Venafi.

“This cash is being funneled immediately into weapons programmes and cyber crime has developed into an important cog within the ongoing survival of Kim Jong Un’s dictatorship. Worryingly, this blueprint can be mimicked by different rogue states. So, slicing North Korean cyber crime off on the supply is important to the nationwide safety of the US and its allies,” added Bocek. 

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