• North Korea has been stealing crypto in large quantities since 2021, with a record-breaking amount stolen in 2022.
• The UN report details the increasingly sophisticated techniques used by North Korea’s hacking organizations to gain access to cryptocurrency networks and steal data.
• One example of this was through LinkedIn and WhatsApp messages sent to small and medium-sized businesses, which contained malicious payloads.
North Korea Stole Record Breaking Amount of Crypto in 2022
A new report released by the United Nations shows that North Korea stole more cryptocurrency than ever before in 2022, reaching a total estimated value of over $630 million dollars. The nation has long been known for its cybercrime activities and is home to several hacking organizations such as Lazarus.
UN Report Details Sophisticated Techniques Used By Hackers
The report also explains how North Korean hackers are using increasingly sophisticated techniques to gain access to digital networks involved in cyber finance and steal information of potential value, including those related to their weapons programs. It states that “variation in USD value of cryptocurrency” could affect estimates but that “2022 was a record-breaking year for DPRK (North Korea) virtual asset theft”. Some experts believe the true figure is closer to $1 billion stolen from other nations throughout the year.
Phishing Attempts Through LinkedIn & WhatsApp
The report goes on to detail some of the methods used by these hackers, such as phishing attempts through social media platforms like LinkedIn and WhatsApp, where they would initially contact individuals before sending malicious payloads over time after gaining their trust. These attacks were allegedly carried out by North Korea’s primary intelligence bureau, meaning they were government funded acts within regulatory bounds.
Sanctioned Mixer Allegedly Used In Many Of North Korea’s Schemes
In September 2020, a mixer called Tornado was sanctioned by the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) after it was discovered they had been allegedly linked with many of North Korea’s illegal schemes involving cryptocurrencies from around the world. This instance shows just how much power these hackers have when it comes to accessing digital assets without being detected or blocked off entirely from making any transactions or exchanges at all.
North Korea Denies Involvement In Cyberattacks
Despite evidence linking them with many cyberattacks around the world, North Korean officials deny any knowledge or involvement regarding such activities yet continue to steal money from other countries through various means on an unprecedented scale each year.