In 2022, North Korea-linked hackers stole crypto worth between $1 and $2 billion.
The United Nations, an intergovernmental organization whose purpose is to maintain international peace and security, has issued a confidential report noting that 2022 was a record-breaking year for North Korea-related hackers.
According to the Reuters report shared on February 7th, in 2022, North Korean hackers stole more cryptocurrency assets than any other year before.
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In particular, South Korea estimated that in 2022, North Korean-related hackers stole crypto worth over $630 million. On top of that, an undisclosed cybersecurity firm claimed that “North Korean cybercrime yielded cyber currencies worth more than $1 billion.” Regarding the matter, the UN report stated:
The variation in USD value of cryptocurrency in recent months is likely to have affected these estimates, but both show that 2022 was a record-breaking year for DPRK (North Korea) virtual asset theft.
The United Nations is not the only institution claiming that 2022 was a record-breaking year for North Korean hackers. On February 1st, blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis revealed that North Koreans stole at least $1.7 billion worth of crypto.
Compared to 2021, the amount grew by 285%. In 2021, North Korean hackers managed to steal around $430 million.
According to Chainalysis, North Korea-linked hackers stole at least $1.1 billion of crypto from decentralized finance (DeFi) protocols.
On top of that, hackers were actively using crypto mixers to hide their traces. Chainalysis noted:
In fact, funds from hacks carried out by North Korea-linked hackers move to mixers at a much higher rate than funds stolen by other individuals or groups.
The majority of funds were moved to crypto mixers like Tornado Cash and Sinbad. Chainalysis claims that “cryptocurrency hacking is a sizable chunk of the nation’s economy.”
The country denies that it is involved in any cyberattacks against crypto-related firms. However, it is worth noting that the United Nations believes that North Korea’s intelligence bureau, known as the Reconnaissance General Bureau, is working with Lazarus Group, Kimusky, and Andariel to attack various firms.