- Over the past two years, North Korean hackers have invaded cryptocurrency exchanges around the world, taking in more than $ 1.7 billion.
- The country used some of the funds to finance the manufacture of nuclear weapons, but it held most of the reserves.
By now, there is no secret that North Korea is one of the biggest players in the cryptocurrency hacking world. What may be surprising is the amount of money that Koreans have been stealing over the years. According to a report, hackers from an East Asian country stole more than $ 1.7 billion in cryptocurrency from exchanges in the United States, South Korea, Indonesia, and other neighboring countries.
North Korea has faced sanctions for most of this millennium from major world powers including Russia, Japan, South Korea, Canada and the United Kingdom, among others. Some, like the one in the United States, go back more than six decades. Since 2006, the United Nations has passed nearly a dozen restrictions on trade with the country.
The effect is worsening for the country’s economy, as global trading partners have moved from the Asian country. Cryptocurrencies were the god of North Korea. And while some of it was done by legal means like mining, he is very lucky by hacking.
A report from media agency Newsis revealed that Korean hackers stole 2 trillion won ($ 1.7 billion) from exchanges around the world in recent years. Some of the money goes to some weapons programs banned by the United Nations, such as nuclear weapons. The report, however, claims that the country leaves many of the cryptocurrencies it stole.
This hodling has led Korea to make a good war chest with cryptocurrencies. For example, the Bithumb hack of 2018, when the South Korean exchange lost $ 31 million in digital assets, an incident that US authorities linked to North Korean hackers. At the time, BTC was trading at about $ 6,600. If the money was stolen in BTC, it is now worth $ 189 million, up from the initial $ 31 million. If it were in some other cryptocurrency, it would be worth more: Dogecoin was worth $ 1.97 billion and Binance Coin was worth $ 915 million.
North Korean hackers keep Kim Jong Un in power
A recent report from the U.S. Agency for Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security revealed that hackers aim for a far greater goal than to demonstrate their ability behind the keyboard: they keep North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un in power.
In its report, the U.S. agency revealed that hackers are targeting all types of victims other than cryptocurrency companies, including central and commercial banks. They steal secret secrets from government agencies, rip off ransomware, and install cryptocurrency mining malware on victims’ devices.
According to the report:
North Korea has committed cyber-theft against financial institutions and cryptocurrency exchanges around the world, which could steal hundreds of millions of dollars, likely to fund government priorities such as its nuclear and missile programs.
The US agency estimates that hackers stole $ 2.3 billion in mutual funds. They were behind some of the biggest malware campaigns in recent years, such as AppleJeus, which raised $ 316 million, and Lazarus, which stole $ 275 million.
Fighting cybercrime is hard enough in today’s world, but fighting North Korean hackers is a whole other thing. The state trains and protects them and, with these state resources, they are able to retell themselves every time cybersecurity experts discover their tricks.
Jenny Jun, a non-resident member of the Atlantic Cyber Council Initiative, told British newspaper The Sun:
Illegal North Korean activities are fighting like a game to beat the mole: it will lead to displacement rather than cause. [el régimen]stop or focus on legitimate business activity.