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North Korean hackers stole $400mn worth of crypto last year: Chainalysis

The hackers committed seven attacks on cryptocurrency platforms, extracting assets from "internet-connected 'hot' wallets"

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North Korean hackers stole $400mn worth of crypto last year: Chainalysis
GNN Media: Representational Photo

North Korean hackers stole around $400 million worth of cryptocurrency through cyberattacks on digital currency outlets last year, blockchain data platform Chainalysis said on Thursday.

Pyongyang is under multiple international sanctions over its atomic bomb and ballistic missile developments but analysts say the North has also built up its cyber capabilities with an army of thousands of well-trained hackers who extract finances to fund the state's weapons programs.

In 2021, the hackers launched seven attacks on crypto platforms, extracting assets from "internet-connected 'hot' wallets" and moving them to North Korean controlled accounts, according to Chainalysis.

"Once North Korea gained custody of the funds, they began a careful laundering process to cover up and cash out," Chainalysis said in a report published on its website.

"These complex tactics and techniques have led many security researchers to characterize cyber actors for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) as advanced persistent threats."

The report highlighted the rise of Lazarus Group, which gained notoriety in 2014 when it was accused of hacking into Sony Pictures Entertainment as revenge for "The Interview," a satirical film that mocked leader Kim Jong Un.

"From 2018 on, The group has stolen and laundered massive sums of virtual currencies every year, typically in excess of $200 million."

The hackers also target a diverse variety of cryptocurrencies, with Bitcoin, the world's largest digital currency, accounting for only a quarter of stolen assets.

"The growing variety of cryptocurrencies stolen has necessarily increased the complexity of DPRK's cryptocurrency laundering operation," Chainalysis said.

North Korea's cyber-programme dates back to at least the mid-1990s, but has since grown to a 6,000-strong cyberwarfare unit, known as Bureau 121, that operates from several countries including Belarus, China, India, Malaysia and Russia, according to a 2020 US military report.

The United States imposed new sanctions on North Korea this week following what Pyongyang called hypersonic missile tests on January 5 and 11.

On Friday South Korean and Japanese officials said North Korea fired an unidentified projectile eastward in its third suspected weapons test in just over a week.

SOURCE: AFP

Faisal Ali Ghumman

Mr. Ghumman is a seasoned journalist who has 19 years of diversified experience in print, electronic and digital media. He has worked with 92 News HD, Daily Pakistan Today, Daily The Business, Daily Dawn, Daily Times and Pakistan Observer as News Reporter, Feature Writer, Editor, Web Content Editor and Article Writer. Mr Ghumman has graduated from the Bahauddin Zakariya University Multan and is currently enrolled in M.Phil in Mass Communication at the University of Punjab.

World

‘Austria to make COVID vaccines compulsory for adults from Feb’

Nehammer, a conservative who took office in December, said those who didn t comply would face a hefty fine

Published by Faisal Waqas

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‘Austria to make COVID vaccines compulsory for adults from Feb’

Vienna: Austria will become the first European country to make Covid-19 vaccination compulsory for adults in February, Chancellor Karl Nehammer said Sunday, acknowledging that it was a “sensitive topic.”

Nehammer, a conservative who took office in December, said those who didn t comply would face a hefty fine.

“We will decide on compulsory vaccination as planned. It will come into force at the beginning of February for adults,” he told a news conference.

Since plans for compulsory jabs were first announced last year, Austria has seen impassioned debate both in parliament and beyond on the issue.

To date 71.5 percent of eligible Austrian residents have had their jabs -- several percentage points below many of the country’s EU neighbours.

Nehammer acknowledged the decision covered "a totally sensitive topic" but said it followed careful consideration.

He warned that after an "entry phase" for the policy, restrictions would be "tightened accordingly" in mid-March on those holding out against the jab, including fines of between 600-3,600 euros ($684-$4,100).

Saturday saw some 27,000 people demonstrate in Vienna against the measure which opponents dub an attack on personal freedoms.

On Thursday Parliament is due to pass into law a bill which initially was set to cover all people from 14 upwards but now will cover adults only.

Exceptions will be made for pregnant women and those who can show they have a medical exemption.

The government has widespread support for a policy which only the far-right is opposing.

Austria has to date seen almost 14,000 Covid-related deaths and 1.4 million cases in a population of some nine million.

Compulsory vaccinations against Covid remain rare worldwide, though Ecuador, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Indonesia and Micronesia have introduced such schemes.

Source: AFP

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Business

President apologizes to an aged taxpayer over administrative injustice of FBR

Arif Alvi directs FBR chairman to take punitive action against entire chain of decision-makers involved in case

Published by Faisal Waqas

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President apologizes to an aged taxpayer over administrative injustice of FBR

Islamabad: President Dr Arif Alvi has apologized to an aged taxpayer over administrative injustice by the Federal Board of Revenue.

In a press release issued on Sunday, the president expressed dismay over the treatment of an 82 years old tax payer by the FBR and directed FBR chairman to take punitive action against the entire chain of decision-makers involved in the case.

He directed the Chairman of FBR to look into the entire system of irresponsibility and corruption and take punitive action against the entire chain of decision makers involved in the case.

Dr Arif Alvi took exception to the decision of FBR against a senior citizen that refused him to refund a paltry sum of 2,333 rupees on frivolous grounds and dragged him into unnecessary litigation spanning over a year. Apologizing to the senior citizen Abdul Hamid Khan, the President said that our heads should hang in shame for the inconvenience caused by FBR to the senior citizen.

Apologizing to the senior citizen Abdul Hamid Khan, the president said that their heads should hang in shame for the inconvenience caused by the FBR to a senior citizen.

The president took exception to the decision of FBR against the senior citizen in which the bureau had refused to refund a paltry sum of Rs2,333 on frivolous grounds and dragged him into unnecessary litigation spanning over a year.

“Punitive action must be taken along the entire line of decision-makers in this case and Chairman FBR should ensure that those responsible, in particular, and others, in general, go through courses to teach them priorities and courtesies, he directed.

The president while rejecting FBR’s appeal in the instant complaint observed that it appeared that unlawful treatment meted out in the instant case with a view to irritate and humiliate the aging pensioner.

Abdul Hamid Khan (the complainant), a senior citizen of 82 years of age, had claimed a refund of Rs 2,333 on his income tax return for the year 2020 and submitted requisite documents of advance tax deduction of the PTCL and cell phone company bills on 19.10.2020.

The complainant e-filed refund application on 19th October, 2020 followed by representation to FBR Chairman on 24th December, 2020.

The Unit officer of FBR rejected his refund claim, on 29.01.2021, on the grounds that the applicant had failed to furnish the original certificates required for authentication.

The complainant then took up the matter with the Federal Tax Ombudsman (FTO) to seek redressal of his complaint.

The FTO investigated the matter and ordered FBR on 02.06.2021 to revisit the impugned order dated 19.01.2021 and pass a fresh order under section 170(4) of the ordinance, after providing the complainant the opportunity for hearing as per law.

It further ordered to identify and initiate disciplinary proceedings against the official who passed the impugned order in derogation of the law and procedures and dragged the aging taxpayer into unnecessary litigation as well as report compliance within 45 days. Consequently, FBR filed a representation with the president against the original order of FTO on 24.06.2021.

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Pakistan

Govt wants to hold talks with opposition for reforms in electoral process, says Fawad

“Such a leader not considered respectful,” Fawad said.

Published by Mehak Javed

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Govt wants to hold talks with opposition for reforms in electoral process, says Fawad

Islamabad: Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhry Fawad Hussain Monday said that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government wants to hold talks with the opposition for reforms in electoral process and judicial as well as accountability systems. 

On his official twitter handle, the federal minister said this is not possible without negotiations with the opposition. 

However, minister said, the corrupt leadership of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) is not interested to discuss any issue except relief in this cases. 

He further added that if the PML-N detaches itself from the ‘Sharif family’, it would be a positive development.  

“The political parties need to change the leadership involved in moral and financial corruption,” added minister. 

Criticizing PML-N’s Supremo, Fawad said that Nawaz Sharif left his workers behind and went to London in difficult times.

“Such a leader not considered respectful,” he said.

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