This past year, North Korean online hackers stole cryptocurrency worth around $400 million in a minimum of seven major attacks on crypto platforms. “Only 20% of stolen funds were bitcoins… And the very first time ever, ether accounted for almost all stolen funds at 58%,” stated blockchain data analytics firm Chainalysis.
North Korean online hackers stole $400 million price of crypto this past year
Blockchain analytics platform Chainalysis released an analysis on North Korean online hackers as well as their unlaundered cryptocurrency holdings on Thursday. The firm described:
North Korean cybercriminals were built with a banner year in 2021, launching a minimum of seven attacks on cryptocurrency platforms that found nearly $400 million in digital assets this past year.
“These attacks mainly targeted investment firms and centralized exchanges,” the organization described.
Online hackers “used phishing lures, code exploits, adware and spyware and advanced social engineering” to siphon funds from companies’ hot wallets to addresses controlled through the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), added Chainalysis, indicating:
Once North Korea was granted child custody from the funds, it started an intensive washing tactic to hide and collect.
Chainalysis noted that “in 2021, North Korean hacking activity elevated again. From 2020 to 2021, the amount of North Korea-related hacks elevated from four to seven, and also the value obtained from these hacks elevated by 40%.”
The organization also clarified that bitcoin now makes up about under one fourth from the cryptocurrencies stolen by North Korea, adding:
In 2021, only 20% of stolen funds were bitcoins, while 22% were either ERC-20 tokens or altcoins. And the very first time ever, ether accounted for almost all stolen funds at 58%.
“Over 65% of stolen DPRK funds were laundered by mixers this season, when compared with 42% in 2020 and 21% in 2019, suggesting these threat actors took a far more careful approach with every passing year. “, concluded the organization.
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