North Korea hackers stole the most crypto in 2022: Report
- North Korea-linked hackers stole between $630 million and more than $1 billion in cryptocurrency assets last year.
- North Korea’s hackers have stolen more cryptocurrency assets in 2022 than in any previous year.
A confidential United Nations report, seen by Reuters on 6 February, was reportedly submitted to a 15-member North Korea sanctions committee last week.
According to the report, North Korea-linked hackers stole around $630 million – $1 billion in cryptocurrency assets in 2022. The hackers reportedly targeted foreign aerospace and defense companies. North Korean hackers have stolen more cryptocurrency assets in 2022 than in any previous year, mentioned the report.
The independent sanctions monitor, in its report to the UN Security Council Committee, stated:
“[North Korea] used increasingly sophisticated cyber techniques both to gain access to digital networks involved in cyber finance, and to steal information of potential value, including to its weapons programmes,”
A report published last week by the blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis linked North Korean hackers to at least $1.7 billion in stolen cryptocurrency in 2022, making it the worst-ever year for crypto hacking. The firm identified cybercriminal syndicates as the most prolific cryptocurrency hackers in recent years.
It added that North Korea’s total exports in 2020 totaled $142 million, implying that cryptocurrency hacking accounted for a sizable portion of the country’s economy.
The report mentioned that hacks of decentralized finance (DeFi) protocols amounted to at least $1.1 billion. This put North Korea at the forefront of the DeFi hacking trend, which could intensify in 2022.
North Korean intelligence allegedly behind cyber attacks
The company also discovered that North Korean-linked hackers frequently send colossal sums to mixers like Tornado Cash and Sinbad. These hackers transferred to mixers at a much higher rate than funds stolen by other individuals or groups.
Though North Korea has often denied being responsible for cyber-attacks, the new UN report claims North Korea’s primary intelligence bureau, the Reconnaissance General Bureau, employs several groups, including Kimsuky, Lazarus Group, and Andariel, specifically for cyber-attacks.
The full report is expected to be released in January or early March 2023.