The United Nations (UN) is delving into hacking groups associated with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) for orchestrating cyberattacks on cryptocurrency firms over a span of six years, accumulating profits totaling around $3 billion.
According to recent reports from Reuters, citing unpublished UN documents, an independent sanction committee is overseeing the probe into DPRK-linked hacking groups.
These groups allegedly targeted 58 cryptocurrency-related firms to support their weapon of mass destruction (WMD) development activities from 2017 to 2023.
“The panel is scrutinizing 58 suspected DPRK cyberattacks on cryptocurrency-related companies between 2017 and 2023, amounting to approximately $3 billion, reportedly contributing to funding DPRK’s WMD development.”
The UN is expected to publish a report on its findings within the next two months. DPRK hacking groups have come under fire for purported crypto losses resulting from hacks in recent years.
In 2023, Chainalysis estimated that these hacking groups stole about $1 billion worth of cryptocurrency from 20 hacks. However, this marked a notable decrease compared to 2022, when losses from North Korea-linked exploits reached $1.7 billion across 15 hacking incidents.
Blockchain intelligence firm TRM Labs anticipates that this year will witness even greater damage from hacking groups, as their attack methods are projected to evolve beyond those seen in previous years.
“Despite significant advancements in cybersecurity measures among exchanges and increased global collaboration in tracking and recovering stolen funds, 2024 is expected to witness further disruption from the world’s most prolific cyber-thief.”
Meanwhile, recent reports from Cointelegraph have highlighted warnings from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime regarding the misuse of cryptocurrency in illicit economies emerging in East and Southeast Asia.
It shed light on poorly regulated or illicit gambling operations and “pig-butchering” romance scams, which have experienced significant growth in the Mekong region.