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$10 million up for grabs in fight against North Korean hackers


December 06, 2023

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$10 million up for grabs in fight against North Korean hackers

Fancy earning $10 million?

Of course you do!

Well, today could be your lucky day. Because the US State Department is offering a reward of up to $10 million for information that could help disrupt the activities of hackers.

It's not information about any old hackers that the authorities are seeking (although I'm sure law enforcement agents would be interested in anything you might be able to share if it helps catch cybercriminals).

Specifically, the $10 million reward is focused on hackers working on behalf of the North Korean government, who are using cryptocurrency mixers to launder the cryptocurrency they are stealing from financial institutions and businesses.

In a tweet, the US State Department’s Rewards for Justice program explains that the North Korean regime launders stolen cryptocurrency to support its ballistic missile program and nuclear ambitions.

The announcement of the $10 reward comes just days after the US Department of Treasury announced sanctions against Sinbad, a cryptocurrency mixing service
used by the notorious Lazarus Group, which is affiliated with North Korea.

As the US authorities describe, Sinbad was used to launder significant portions of the $100 million worth of virtual currency stolen in June 2023 from users of Atomic Wallet, the  $620 million stolen from Aixie Finity in March 2022, and the $100 million hack of Horizon Bridge in June 2022.

In short, these are not insignificant amounts of money being stolen.  In fact, they make the typical ransomware extortion seem small in comparison. Clearly, North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile plans don't come cheap.

The public-facing website of Sinbad at sinbad.io has now been seized by law enforcement agencies and replaced with this message:

According to Bleeping Computer, the Tor site for Sinbad is also no longer accessible - suggesting that its servers may also have been seized by law enforcement.

One thing that is still accessible is the US State Department's tip line, where people with information are invited to submit information to the Rewards for Justice program (and potentially earn themselves up to $10 million).

You can visit the Rewards for Justice tips line via Tor at: he5dybnt7sr6cm32xt77pazmtm65flqy6irivtflruqfc5ep7eiodiad.onion, or use encrypted messaging systems such as Signal, Telegram, or WhatsApp if you prefer.

Good luck.




Graham Cluley is an award-winning security blogger, researcher and public speaker. He has been working in the computer security industry since the early 1990s.

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