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North Korean hackers “stolen” $ 400 million worth of cryptocurrencies last year

North Korea has been accused of using stolen funds to support nuclear and ballistic missile programs to circumvent sanctions.

North Korea has not responded to media inquiries, but has previously issued a statement denying allegations of hacking. (Getty Images)

North Korea has launched at least seven attacks on cryptocurrency platforms and extracted $ 400 million worth of digital assets last year, one of the most successful years on record.

“From 2020 to 2021, the number of hacks related to North Korea surged from 4 to 7, and the value extracted from these hacks increased by 40%,” a report released Thursday said.

“Once North Korea gained control of its funds, they began a cautious laundering process for cover-up and cash-out,” the report added.

A UN expert committee overseeing sanctions against North Korea has accused North Korea of ​​using stolen funds to support nuclear and ballistic missile programs to circumvent sanctions.

North Korea has not responded to media inquiries, but has previously issued a statement denying allegations of hacking.

Last year, the U.S. told three North Korean computer programmers working in national intelligence to steal more than $ 1.3 billion in money and cryptocurrencies affecting companies from banks to Hollywood movie studios. He was charged with a large-scale, long-standing hacking case aimed at.

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target

Chainalysis did not identify all the targets of the hack, but they announced that they had access to some of the cryptocurrency wallets managed primarily by investment companies and unauthorized users in August Liquid.com. Said it is a centralized exchange including.

According to reports, attackers used phishing scams, code exploits, malware, and advanced social engineering to suck money from these organizations’ Internet-connected “hot” wallets to North Korean-controlled addresses. ..

Many of last year’s attacks may have been carried out by the Lazarus Group, a U.S.-approved hacking group, and are controlled by the Korean People’s Army General Administration, North Korea’s main intelligence agency. ..

The group has been accused of being involved in a “WannaCry” ransomware attack, hacking international banks and customer accounts, and a 2014 cyberattack against Sony Pictures Entertainment.

North Korea also appears to be stepping up its efforts to launder stolen cryptocurrencies, significantly increasing the use of mixers or software tools that pool and scramble cryptocurrencies from thousands of addresses, Chainalysis said. I am saying.

According to the report, researchers identified $ 170 million in holdings of old unwashed cryptocurrencies from 49 separate hacks from 2017 to 2021.

The report said it was unclear why hackers were still in these funds, but said they may want to betray law enforcement interests before cashing out.

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Source: Reuters

https://www.trtworld.com/business/north-korean-hackers-stole-400m-worth-of-cryptocurrency-last-year-53640?utm_source=other&utm_medium=rss North Korean hackers “stolen” $ 400 million worth of cryptocurrencies last year

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