Jan 14th, 2022- Blockchain analysis firm Chainalysis found North Korea accounted for nearly $400 million worth of cryptocurrency last year in 2021. North Korea has been making some of the best gains in its history, so it’s no surprise that they have been launching these attacks on high-value targets.
“From 2020 to 2021, the number of North Korean-linked hacks jumped from four to seven. As a result, the value extracted from hacks grew by 40%,” as per the report released on Thursday.
“Once North Korea gained custody of the funds, they began a careful laundering process to cover up and cash out,” the report added.
As a result, the United Nations imposed sanctions on North Korea, accusing it of stealing and using stolen funds to support its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.
North Korea has denied these hacking accusations, but they haven’t given any statements to the media lately.
North Korean hackers have conducted cybercrimes in the past, which have led to a $1.3 billion theft charge. We hope that they are held accountable for their evil deeds and that others learn from this experience not to fall victim to computer crimes in the future.
Chainalysis only said that the discussed targets were mainly investment firms, centralized exchanges (like Liquid.com), and other high-profile businesses. However, they could not identify all of them at this time.
The report mentions that hackers have been using AI-powered phishing schemes, malware, and targeted social engineering to steal money out of organizations’ online ‘hot’ wallets. Such practices often lead to the funds getting sent to North Korea.
Lately, North Korea has been making a lot of noise on the cybersecurity scene with its impressive hacking skills.
There is evidence of possible involvement with several cyber-attacks, including the WannaCry ransomware attacks, hacking into international banks and customer accounts, and the Sony Pictures Entertainment incidents in 2014.
North Korea has been working on laundering cryptocurrency since last year. They’ve simply been using mixers to hide their tracks until recently. Recent research by Chainalysis indicates that they’re stepping up their efforts to buy more cryptocurrency.
Researchers found $170 million worth of old, unlaundered cryptocurrency holdings across 49 separate hacks between 2017 and 2021.
A recent report by Symantec indicates that the hackers could be sitting on these funds to avoid detection. However, it’s unclear why they would still be there in the first place instead of selling them out for profits.
No matter what their reasons are – one thing is for sure – North Korea has a deliberate and well-thought-out strategy. Most likely, they are awaiting the perfect moment to implement that strategy, which is why they are not showing any desperation.