According to a recent discovery by American cybersecurity firm Recorded Future, North Korean hackers have successfully stolen around $3 billion in cryptocurrencies since 2017, with more than half of that surprising amount stolen in the past year. Recorded Future’s the report highlights the seriousness of the situation, stating that this amount accounts for approximately half of the total military North Korea’s expenses for that year.
The report specifically accuses North Korean threats of embezzling an estimated $1.7 billion of valuable cryptocurrencies in 2022 alone, which is equivalent to approximately 5% of the total economy of North Korea or a significant 45% of the military budget. It is important to note that this was illegally acquired the sum exceeds the nation’s total annual export revenue almost ten times, which stood at 182 million dollars in 2021.
Starting with a focus on the South Korean crypto market, North Korean cyber operators are significant expanded their reach globally, marking a shift from traditional finance to the field digital financial technologies. The report points out that North Korean government support plays a key role in expanding this illicit business, allowing North Korean threats to increase the scale of its operations beyond the reach of traditional cybercriminals.
In response to these revelations, the US Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control of finance imposed sanctions on the crypto platform Sinbad, claiming that the platform facilitated money laundering money for the North Korean group Lazarus. The UN report highlights the increased sophistication of cyber attacks in 2022, making tracking stolen funds more difficult than ever. A blockchain analytics company Chainalysis identifies these North Korean-linked hackers as the most prolific cryptocurrency hackers in recent years. In addition, Chainalysis notes that the hackers are linked to the North In Korea, funds were transferred much more often through crypto mixers such as Tornado Cash and Sinbad u compared to other criminal groups.