North Korean Hackers Pose As Recruiters to Steal $3 Billion in 5 Years


  • Hackers backed by North Korea have stolen $3 billion of crypto in five years. 
  • They use a variety of elaborate schemes, including posing as employment recruiters, to get access to sensitive info. 
  • The stolen crypto is funding 50% of the dictatorship’s ballistic missile program, WSJ reported. 

Hackers employed by North Korea have stolen a massive of sum of cryptocurrency in the last five years, using a range of clever tactics to dupe their targets. 

The dictatorship has amassed a trove of about $3 billion of crypto in recent years. Among its biggest wins was 2021’s Axie Infinity hack, which saw North Korean crypto thieves make off with $600 million from players of the platform’s digital pets game. 

The Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday that the hack was pulled off by someone posing as a recruiter, who contacted an employee of Axie Infinity parent Sky Mavis. The hacker shared a document with the potential recruit, which was loaded with malware that enabled access to the candidate’s computer. 

The scheme is just one example of how North Korea is becoming more sophisticated in how it targets and executes these hacks, which are helping it fund its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile program. According to the Journal, stolen crypto accounts for 50% of the funding for the country’s missile program. 

The hackers in recent years have also posed as IT employees and government officials. They’ve masqueraded as Japanese blockchain developers and Canadian IT workers, representing what the Journal calls a “shadow workforce” that can sometimes pay people up to $300,000 a year. 

In some cases, the hackers will even try to get hired by the firms they’re targeting, using Westerners to sit through the interviews. Once employed, they will make small changes to products that allow them to be hacked.

Overall, North Korea’s hacks have been getting more and more advanced, and their scams more difficult to detect, with one source telling the Journal that companies are locked in an “arms race” with the criminals. 


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