Hackers Tied to North Korea Stole $630m in Crypto Last Year, UN Finds


  • The UN found North Korea-backed hackers stole a record $630 million of crypto last year, per Reuters.
  • North Korea is thought to use cyberattacks to fund its nuclear missile program and to steal defense secrets.
  • Its haul from crypto hacking is likely to make up a sizeable chunk of its economy, according to Chainalysis.

Hackers with ties to North Korea stole more crypto than ever before last year in dollar terms, the United Nations has reportedly found.

The hackers brought in a record digital asset haul worth at least $630 million in 2022, according to a Reuters story Monday that cited a currently confidential UN report.

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,” independent sanctions monitors told the UN’s Security Council, per Reuters.

The monitors arrived at the $630 million figure using an estimate provided by neighboring state South Korea, the report said. Meanwhile, a cybersecurity firm cited by the UN said the total amount of crypto stolen by North Korea in 2022 could be worth over $1 billion.

The varying figures are likely due to cryptocurrencies’ wild price movements last year, as rising interest rates and the implosion of high-profile crypto companies like FTX fueled a 60% plunge in leading token bitcoin to under $17,000.

Sanctions monitors have previously said that North Korea likely uses the money it raises from crypto hacks to fund its nuclear missile programs, although US sanctions forbid it from developing nuclear capabilities.

US-based Chainalysis found last week that groups with ties to North Korea had accounted for over half of all the crypto stolen in hacks last year.

The hackers “shattered their own records for theft” in lifting roughly $1.7 billion worth of crypto, the blockchain analysis group said.

“For context, North Korea’s total exports in 2020 totalled $142 million worth of goods, so it isn’t a stretch to say that cryptocurrency hacking is a sizable chunk of the nation’s economy,” Chainalysis added.

In the recent UN report, the sanctions monitors said hackers with ties to North Korea had developed their techniques to the point they were now able to steal weapons secrets as well as cryptocurrencies from other countries, per Reuters.

In 2020, its hackers used LinkedIn to carry out an intrusion into networks of military contractors in Europe, according to cybersecurity researchers. 

The UN didn’t immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

Read more: Crypto hackers made off with an unprecedented $3.8 billion in 2022, led by North Korean-linked groups breaking their own theft records


Source link

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply