North Korean Hackers Stole Almost $400 Million in Crypto

In 2021, North Korea's hacking activity increased again
In 2021, North Korea’s hacking exercise elevated once more

North Korean hackers launched at the least seven assaults in 2021 on cryptocurrency platforms, extracting practically $400 million value of digital belongings, in accordance with a report by the software program firm Chainalysis.

“These attacks primarily targeted investment firms and centralized exchanges, and used phishing lures, code exploits, malware, and advanced social engineering to divert funds from these organizations’ internet-connected ‘hot’ wallets to addresses controlled by South Korea. North”, reads the report, which ensures that as soon as North Korea gained custody of the funds, it started a cautious laundering course of to cowl up and withdraw cash.

These complicated techniques and strategies have led many safety researchers to characterize cyber actors from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) as superior persistent threats (APTs).

This is very true for APT 38, also referred to asLazarus Group, which is run by the DPRK’s important intelligence company, the US-UN sanctioned Reconnaissance General Office. “While we will refer to the attackers as North Korea-linked hackers in general, many of these attacks were probably carried out by the Lazarus Group in particular”, make clear the researchers.

North Korean hackers launched at least seven attacks in 2021 on cryptocurrency platforms, extracting nearly $400 million worth of digital assets (REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/File Photo)
North Korean hackers launched at the least seven assaults in 2021 on cryptocurrency platforms, extracting practically $400 million value of digital belongings (REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/File Photo)

Lazarus Group first gained notoriety with its cyberattacks on Sony Pictures and WannaCry, however has since concentrated his efforts on cryptocurrency crime, a method that has confirmed immensely worthwhile.

As of 2018, the group has stolen and laundered large quantities of digital foreign money every year, sometimes greater than $200 million.

In 2021, North Korea’s hacking exercise elevated once more. From 2020 to 2021, the variety of hacks linked to North Korea elevated from 4 to seven, and the worth extracted from these hacks grew by 40%.

“Interestingly, in dollar value terms, Bitcoin now accounts for less than a quarter of the cryptocurrencies stolen by the DPRK. In 2021, only 20% of the stolen funds were Bitcoin, while 22% were ERC-20 tokens or altcoins. And for the first time in history, Ether accounted for the majority of stolen funds at 58%”, states the report.

North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un (REUTERS / KCNA)
North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un (REUTERS / KCNA)

“Once North Korea gained custody of the funds, they began a careful laundering process to cover up and withdraw money,” Chainalysis studies.

However, the hackers appeared sluggish to launder all of the cryptocurrency they stole. The firm’s evaluation discovered roughly $170 million in unlaundered cryptocurrency holdings, with round $35 million coming from assaults carried out in 2020 and 2021.

According to the researchers, “these behaviors, taken together, paint a portrait of a nation that supports cryptocurrency-enabled crime on a massive scale.”. Systematic and complicated, the North Korean authorities, whether or not by means of the Lazarus Group or its different legal syndicates, has established itself as a complicated persistent risk to the cryptocurrency business in 2021.”

Nonetheless, the inherent transparency of many cryptocurrencies presents a method ahead. “With blockchain analytics tools, compliance teams, criminal investigators, and hack victims can track the movement of stolen funds, take advantage of opportunities to freeze or seize assets and hold criminals accountable for their crimes”, the report ends.

Keep studying:

North Korean Hackers Stole Millions of Dollars From Virtual Entities to Fund Regime’s Missile Program
South Korea denounced that Kim Jong Un hackers tried to steal information on the Pfizer vaccine

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