North Korea-Affiliated Hackers Stole $600 Million in 2023 — Ten Times More Damaging Than Anyone Else
North Korea-affiliated hackers stole digital assets worth $600 million in the past year. According to a TRM Labs report, this figure will likely rise to $700 million if additional attacks which occurred at the tail end of the year are traced to the same hackers. North Korea and its affiliates reportedly now possess a hacking prowess which requires ongoing “vigilance and innovation from business and governments.”
DPRK Hacks Ten Times More Damaging
According to the latest research by the blockchain intelligence firm TRM Labs, North Korea-affiliated hackers stole digital assets worth at least $600 million in 2023. If additional hacks that occurred in the final days of that year are confirmed as North Korean attacks, this figure is likely to rise to $700 million.
TRM Labs’ new report on suspected North Korean hacks acknowledges that the value of digital assets stolen in the past year is 30% lower than the $850 million siphoned in 2022. However, the intelligence firm’s findings suggest that hacks orchestrated by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) “were on average ten times as damaging as those not linked to North Korea.”
As previously reported by Bitcoin.com News, North Korea, which is under United Nations (UN) sanctions, is accused of using stolen digital assets to fund its suspected nuclear weapons program. Some observers believe that North Korea’s ability to fund its programs using stolen digital assets is helping the country undermine UN sanctions.
Stolen Digital Assets Mostly Swapped With USDT or Tron
Explaining the North Korea-affiliated hackers’ modus operandi, the TRM Labs report said:
“North Korea conducts nearly all of its attacks by compromising private keys and seed phrases, which are critical security elements of digital wallets. Hackers transfer the victims’ digital assets to wallet addresses controlled by North Korean operatives. They are then swapped mostly for USDT or Tron and converted to hard currency using high-volume OTC brokers.”
Meanwhile, the report also highlighted how the DPRK has continued to launder stolen crypto funds even after U.S. authorities have sanctioned the country’s previous go-to crypto mixers. The report ends by acknowledging that North Korea and its affiliates now possess a hacking prowess which requires ongoing “vigilance and innovation from business and governments.”
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