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North Korea hackers stole the most crypto in 2022: Report

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North Korea stole the most crypto in 2022: Report

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  • 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.

Source: Chainalysis

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.


Saman Waris works as a News Editor at AMBCrypto. She has always been fascinated by how the tides of finance and technology shape communities across demographics. Cryptocurrencies are of particular interest to Saman, with much of her writing centered around understanding how ideas like Momentum and Greater Fool theories apply to altcoins, specifically, memecoins. A graduate in history, Saman worked the sports beat before diving into crypto. Prior to joining AMBCrypto 2 years ago, Saman was a News Editor at Sportskeeda. This was preceded by her stint as Editor-in-Chief at EssentiallySports.
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