• North Korea-linked hackers stole between $630 million and more than $1 billion in cryptocurrency assets last year.
• A confidential United Nations report 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 company also discovered that North Korean-linked hackers frequently send colossal sums to mixers like Tornado Cash and Sinbad.
North Korea Cryptocurrency Hacking
Record Stolen Crypto Assets
North Korea’s hackers have stolen more cryptocurrency assets in 2022 than in any previous year, according to a confidential United Nations report seen by Reuters on 6 February. The report was reportedly submitted to a 15-member North Korea sanctions committee last week and estimated that the hackers had stolen between $630 million – $1 billion worth of assets.
Targeted Aerospace and Defense Companies
The hackers reportedly targeted foreign aerospace and defense companies with their cyber attacks. Last week, blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis published a report linking North Korean hackers to at least $1.7 billion in stolen cryptocurrency in 2022, making it the worst-ever year for crypto hacking. This amount accounted for a sizable portion of the country’s economy as its total exports only amounted to around $142 million that same year.
DeFi Protocols Targeted
According to the UN report, hacks of decentralized finance (DeFi) protocols were responsible for at least $1.1 billion worth of losses from North Korean activities alone – putting them at the forefront of this trend which is likely to intensify further in 2022. The independent sanctions monitor added that North Korea used increasingly sophisticated cyber techniques both to gain access to digital networks involved in cyber finance, as well as steal information of potential value including related to its weapons programmes.
Mixers Used To Conceal Funds
Chainalysis also revealed that these hackers often sent colossal sums of money into mixers such as Tornado Cash or Sinbad which are used to conceal funds anonymously across various blockchains without leaving any traceable evidence behind them – something done much more frequently by these particular criminals compared with other individuals or groups out there stealing cryptocurrencies too but using different methods instead.
North Korean Intelligence Allegedly Behind Cyber Attacks
Though North Korea has always denied being responsible for such cyberattacks, both UN reports suggest otherwise claiming that their primary intelligence bureau called Reconnaissance General Bureau employs several groups including Kimsuky, Lazarus Group and Andariel specifically for this purpose – though further information will be released once their full report is expected next month either January or early March 2023