South Korea arrested two citizens on the charge of stealing military secrets for a North Korean spy, who paid them with cryptocurrency. One of the two is a crypto exchange executive who has received $600,000 since working for the agent last year. South Korea is yet to catch the North Korean spy, who – the authorities believe – is operating overseas.
Infiltrating South Korea’s Military Department
According to South Korean police and prosecution officials, the head of the exchange, surnamed Lee, contacted the purported spy in July 2021 and helped them gather military secrets. The two, who allegedly met online at a cryptocurrency community six years ago, had failed to hack into the country’s military communication system.
Therefore, the 38-year-old executive recruited a 29-year-old military captain, directing him to take pictures of military data through a camera disguised as a watch and sending him a “Poison Tap” USB computer hacking device. South Korean authorities said the captain had given the login information of the Korean Joint Command and Control System to Lee and the agent, though revealing no details regarding the stolen data.
The military captain allegedly was paid about $38,000 in cryptocurrency for his contributory efforts. The two South Koreans were arrested earlier this month and now face criminal charges of violating the country’s National Security Act and years-long jail time.
Crypto and Cyberattacks
North Korea is notoriously known for conducting cyberattacks that help the country steal cryptocurrencies from DeFi protocols. Earlier this month, the FBI announced that the Lazarus Group, associated with North Korea (DPRK), was responsible for attacking the Ronin Bridge, reported on March 29th, and stealing a total of $620 million in various digital assets.
Chainalysis’s recent report has indicated that the group has stolen an estimated $1.75 billion worth of cryptocurrency. The document noted that Pyongyang may have considered using digital assets to bypass sanctions imposed by the West.