Since 2017, cybercriminals working under the sponsorship of the government of North Korea allegedly plundered total digital assets of over $ 1 Billion!
Based on a report (1) by AP News, the primary security agency in South Korea, the National Intelligence Service, has disclosed that North Korean cybercriminals have robbed approximately 1.5 trillion won ($1.2 billion) in digital currencies over the past five years.
Since this year's beginning, over half of that total, or almost 800 billion won (or $626 million), has been stolen. In addition, South Korea contributed more than 100 billion won, equivalent to $78 million to the overall sum.
The National Intelligence Service (NIS) has asserted that as a result of North Korea's emphasis on cybercrime, the nation now ranks among the very finest in the world regarding crypto currency theft.
Nation Suffering Under Sanction from UN
Since 2017, the nation has focused primarily on committing cybercrimes in reaction to the tightening of economic sanctions imposed by the United Nations in reaction to its nuclear and missile testing.
Per Associated Press, North Korea uses the stolen digital currencies to endorse its fragile economy and fund its nuclear program. North Korea's economy has been steadily contracting over the past few years due to the severe sanctions imposed by the UN and the COVID-19 pandemic.
The NIS anticipates that in 2023, hackers operating out of North Korea will engage in more illegal cyber actions to acquire cutting-edge South Korean technologies and sensitive information about South Korea's foreign policy and national security.
At the beginning of this month, the United States, Japan, and South Korea announced (2) fresh penalties against North Korean officials tied to that nation's weapons development.
Despite the country's worsening economic situation, North Korea has conducted unprecedented missile launches this year, prompting this decision.
At the beginning of August, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the United States Treasury placed penalties on the crypto currency mixer Tornado Cash for its suspected role in money laundering operations.
At the time, the agency alleges that the mixing service had been used to launder upwards of $7 billion worth of crypto currency since 2019. This included laundering approximately $1 billion for the Lazarus Group, a group of cyber criminals funded by North Korea.
North Korans are Infamous for Some Major Hacks
The North Korean Lazarus gang of hackers is believed to be responsible (3) for the hack of Axie Infinity's Ronin blockchain, which resulted in the theft of approximately $625 million worth of Ethereum and USDC and is considered to be one of the largest crypto currency hacks in the history of the industry.
North Korea has consistently denied that it strives to hack cryptocurrency and has repudiated allegations encompassing the Lazarus group. The Lazarus group was repeatedly accused of orchestrating the hack of Sony Pictures in 2014 and the Wannacry ransomware attacks (4) in 2017. North Korea has consistently denied that it strives to hack cryptocurrency and has disproved allegations involving the Lazarus group.