North Korea crypto hacking activity soars to record high in 2023, new report shows

The FBI claims North Korea-linked hackers have been behind a $100 million crypto heist on the so-called Horizon bridge in 2022.

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North Korea-linked hackers attacked a record variety of crypto platforms in 2023, in accordance to Chainalysis in its latest report on Wednesday.

Data collected from 2016 to 2023 confirmed that North Korea hacked 20 crypto platforms final 12 months — the best stage recorded in that point interval, in accordance to the blockchain analytics agency.

North Korea-affiliated hackers stole barely over $1 billion price of crypto property final 12 months, which was decrease than the record $1.7 billion stolen by North Korea-affiliated hackers in 2022.

“North Korea-linked hacks have been on the rise over the previous few years, with cyber-espionage teams reminiscent of Kimsuky and Lazarus Group using numerous malicious techniques to purchase giant quantities of crypto property,” mentioned Chainalysis on Wednesday.

Another report by blockchain intelligence firm TRM Labs mentioned hackers tied to North Korea stole no less than $600 million in crypto in 2023.

In September, the FBI confirmed that North Korea’s Lazarus Group was answerable for the theft of about $41 million in crypto property from on-line on line casino and betting platform

On Nov. 29, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control sanctioned, a digital forex mixer that could be a key money-laundering software for Lazarus Group. Crypto mixers are companies that blend crypto from completely different sources to make transactions more durable to hint.

The OFAC mentioned was answerable for helping Lazarus Group in laundering thousands and thousands of {dollars} in crypto stolen from the Horizon Bridge and Axie Infinity hacks, amongst others.

Previous research revealed that North Korea-affiliated hackers stole a whole lot of thousands and thousands of crypto to fund the regime’s nuclear weapons applications.

Since North Korea conducted its first nuclear test in 2006, the state has been slapped with several United Nations sanctions, geared toward limiting the regime’s entry to sources of funding wanted to help its nuclear actions.

“With almost $1.5 billion stolen in the previous two years alone, North Korea’s hacking prowess calls for steady vigilance and innovation from enterprise and governments,” mentioned TRM Labs in its Jan. 5 report.

“Despite notable developments in cybersecurity amongst exchanges and elevated worldwide collaboration in monitoring and recovering stolen funds, 2024 is probably going to see additional disruption from the world’s most prolific cyber-thief.”

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