The Lazarus group, North Korea's infamous crypto hackers, is the most profitable in the world.

In 2017, Group-IB reported that the state-backed hacker group was responsible for the $571 million out of $882 million worth of cryptocurrencies stolen from various exchanges and of the total amount nabbed by Lazarus, $534 million came from one exchange, Japan-based CoinCheck.

The Lazarus group uses spear phishing, social engineering, and malware to target its victims, and they have been a threat since 2009. Some of the cyberattacks that caused their cause célèbre include the Sony Breach in 2014 and the Wannacry ransomware attack in 2017.

This year the hacker group had picked up more notoriety when it was reported that they had amassed an estimated $2 billion from their brazen crypto heists, which is said to be used for funding DPKR's weapons and ballistic missile development.

Now, their most recent ploy targets Apple MacOS through a fake trading app. By setting up a fictitious company named "JMT Trading" that flaunts a legitimate-looking website and putting it up on GitHub, the Lazarus group was able to hide malware within the trading app. When downloaded to an Apple computer, it gives the hackers unprecedented access to the target's computer.

Apple Mac security specialist and principal security researcher, Jamf Patrick Wardle, downplayed the threat on his blog post by stating that crypto exchange employees are the ones targeted.

"Do you have to worry about getting infected? Probably not, unless you're an employee working at a crypto-currency exchange," Wardle wrote.

Why cryptocurrencies

Due to the financial sanctions imposed by the U.N. Security Council, the Kim Jong-un-led nation is allegedly seeking ways to get around them, and cryptocurrencies are perfect for making such anonymous transactions.

According to CipherTrace, thefts, scams, and other misappropriation of cryptocurrencies amounted to $4.3 billion in losses in 2019, and the favorite victim is Bitcoin.

The report states:

"The results show that privacy coins are barely used in dark markets and at dark vendor sites (e.g., only 4% of instances involve Monero (XMR). Instead, Bitcoin remains the coin of the realm in this shady world, with BTC used in 76% of dark market cases and ETC used in only 7% of instances."

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