Justice Department Seizes $500,000 from North Korean Hackers

The Department of Justice (DOJ) was able to restore the funds of hospitals in Kansas and Colorado that had recently been victims of ransomware attacks. The agency seized and returned nearly half a million dollars from North Korean hackers to two hospitals in Kansas and Colorado after they were targeted by the hackers. The hospitals were attached in May 2021 and April 2022 and paid their ransoms in bitcoin. In May 2021 and April 2022, state-sponsored North Korean hackers deployed a new strain of ransomware called “Maui” to lock the servers of two medical centers in Kansas and Colorado.

The medical centers had to respectively pay ransoms of approximately $100,000 and $120,000 in bitcoin to the cybercriminals to regain the use of their computers. The Kansas hospital contacted the FBI, which was then able to trace the cryptocurrency ransom to money-launderers in China. The FBI managed to gain access to the receiving accounts, seize the funds, and eventually return the money to the victim institutions In May 2022. It is not clear where the extra $280,000 seized came from, nor is it clear how bitcoin’s price changes affected the overall amount seized. The statement also did not mention any arrests.

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