August 20, 2023

North Korean Hackers Stole Around $2 Bln in Crypto Since 2018

North Korea Hacker

North Korea Hacker

The cryptocurrency ecosystem is threatened by North Korean hackers, who have stolen approximately $2 billion worth of cryptocurrencies in the last five years.

A report by blockchain intelligence firm TRM Labs has delved into the world of cryptocurrency-related hacking, focusing on the activities of North Korean cybercriminals. TRM Labs data shows North Korea already stole around $200 million worth of cryptocurrency in 2023, accounting for 20% of all stolen funds this year.

North Korean cyberattacks are believed to be ten times larger than attacks by other malicious actors. Furthermore, these hackers have targeted the decentralized finance (DeFi) ecosystem, explicitly focusing on cross-chain bridges that continue to facilitate a significant volume of cryptocurrency transfers.

Recently, there have been several instances of cross-chain hacks, such as the Axie Infinity Ronin Bridge hack, resulting in the loss of $650 million worth of cryptocurrency. In addition, North Korean hackers have been responsible for stealing around $800 million in three separate attacks in 2022 alone.

These cyberattacks involve various methods, including phishing and supply chain attacks that exploit compromised private keys and seed phrases.

According to TRM Labs, North Korean hackers have become more adept at using on-chain laundering methods. Previously, they would cash out stolen cryptocurrency through exchanges, but now they use complex “multi-stage money laundering processes.”

Cybercriminals have adapted their techniques in reaction to strict penalties from the Office of Foreign Assets Control, law enforcement efforts, and advancements in blockchain tracing technology. TRM Labs analyzed the 2023 Atomic Wallet hack by North Korean hackers as an illustration of the new tactics being employed to conceal their activities.

Author profile

Whether you want to learn about NFT, Blockchain, Web3.0, Metaverse, or any other emerging technologies, we have the vital resources that will enlighten and help you make an informed decision.