South Korea blasts crypto cybercrime by North Korean hackers

In recent years, North Korean hackers have multiplied cryptographic attacks. The theft of digital assets has indeed become one of the main sources of revenue for the regime. NIS, South Korea’s main intelligence agency, denounces this practice.

North Korean hackers were very active in 2022

According to the National Intelligence Service (NIS), North Korean hackers have stolen $1.2 billion worth of cryptocurrency in the past five years, as reported by the US News Agency PA. More than half of the damage results from attacks in this year 2022 alone. The facts point to large-scale crypto theft perpetrated by North Korean hackers. Experts warn that the problem is likely to only get worse over the next few years as the ecosystem develops.

North Korean hackers were particularly active this year in stealing cryptos.

After nuclear tests carried out by North Korea, the UN reinforced the financial sanctions which already weighed on the country. Following this, the State sought an alternative means of bailing out the coffers: cryptocurrencies and other virtual assets. Beyond that, North Korean hackers plan to hack into South Korean tech companies. Their cyberattack campaign also includes stealing the confidential data of rival countries, including South Korea.

Financing state activities

The activity of these North Korean hackers highlights the opportunities offered by the unregulated world of crypto to many rogue regimes and criminal actors around the world. As for North Korea, the stolen virtual assets allow it, among other things, to finance its nuclear projects. The funds would also support an economy weakened by the COVID-19 pandemic and the various economic sanctions suffered by the country.

Identifying and tracking the methods deployed by North Korean-sponsored hackers is difficult. Stopping them is even more complicated. However, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea represents a potential danger, with experts fearing that it could attack critical infrastructure. Analysts, however, hope that advances in technology would provide a better understanding of North Korea’s operations.

Cryptos are not governed by a central authority, making it a safe haven for criminal activity around the world. For government agencies, developing policies that create a secure DeFi ecosystem is key to reducing the risk of attacks of any scale.

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