DPRK's Cryptocurrency Attacks: A Decade of Deception

In the last decade, attacks launched by DPRK hackers have affected cryptocurrency exchanges, driven sites using visited technology to mine for cryptocurrencies without their users' knowledge and openly advertised as having or receiving investment f[...]

Coincub says that there are at least 15 cases of crypto crime in the country, which have a conservative estimate of $1.59 billion in proceeds. The other countries that follow North Korea closely are the US, Russia, China and Britain.

North Korea has the upper hand

Despite the fact that the actual extent of North Korea's contribution to global crypto crime rates is unknown, Coincub reported that DPRK’s cyber program is large and well structured.

The majority of citizens in the country struggle with food insecurity and undernutrition, and lack of access to basic services. They do not have access to the global internet. The country has become a hacking superpower, despite that.

North Korea, isolated from the rest of the world, has produced a group of hackers that have spearheaded some of the most damaging breaches. When it comes to cryptocurrency crimes, skilled North Korean hackers have stolen funds for the country’s weapons programs by executing a series of lucrative cyberattacks.

The crypto industry saw a major turning point in 2020-2021. During that time, a UN report said that North Korean hackers stole over and launched seven further attacks on such platforms to help fund their nuclear program. Cryptocurrency is the main source of internet-based income generation in the country, and due to comprehensive international sanctions, all such transactions are fraudulent in nature.

South Korean exchanges are still the most targeted. Bithumb, for example, was attacked four times by DPRK's hackers. In total, they stole $60 million from it.

The Lazarus Group, which is supported by a state, was responsible for some of the biggest hacks in recent history, including the 2014 Sony breach. The WannaCry hack was another stunt carried out by the group that resulted in a widespread ransomware attack across the globe in 2017.

The attack affected around 200,000 computers in 150 countries for more than 7 hours. The main targets were Russia, India, Ukraine, and Taiwan. The group drained Axie Infinity’s Ronin bridge of over $620 million earlier this year.

North Korea's cyber program, which reportedly employs 7,000 people and operates in more than 150 countries, has likely carried out many thefts that have never been proven. Since the rapid shift in the crypto space, North Korea's hackers have also changed to Web3 and are currently targeting DeFi as per several US government agencies.

The Crypto Winter

One of the world's most brutal and authoritarian regimes may have been leading in crypto crime, but the recent market downturn, its ill-gotten stash of coins and tokens.

CryptoPotato recently reported that the market-wide rout has also affected the malicious entities in North Korea. The relentless declines in the crypto markets could have reduced North Korea's ability to carry out more heists and hacks on the sector.