The world of cryptocurrency is rife with hackers and scammers, targeting everything from dating sites to Metaverses. However, the crypto-craze is also being targeted by entire countries like, for example, North Korea.
Reported by Chainalysis, North Korea had one of the most lucrative years ever for hackers. Experienced cyber criminals residing in the country have allegedly stolen over $400 million worth of virtual currency.
North Korea: Crypto Haven
The analysis outlet reports that North Korean hackers were behind seven major attacks on cryptocurrency platforms. Using “phishing lures, code exploits, malware, and advanced social engineering”, hackers were able to access “hot wallets” and transfer funds to local accounts.
The North Korean hackers have now been designated as “advanced persistent threats” to cybersecurity. Additionally, one cell known as Lazarus Group, has the backing of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea's primary intelligence agency.
Additionally, Chainalysis notes that Lazarus Group were behind the infamous Sony Pictures attack in 2014. The aforementioned hack targeted the movie company as a reaction to the Kim Jon Un-focused comedy movie The Interview.
The analysis company explains that this isn't the biggest year for North Korean crypto hacking. Back in 2018, the country was responsible for around $500 million of crypto hacking before plummeting to just over $200 million the next year. However, the hacking is back on the rise.
Why is this important?
CNN explains that North Korea hacking is a dangerous activity. Essentially, the crypto hacking is a way of the country funding its defence programs. With every successful crypto hack, the country's funding is expanded.
Dictator Kim Jong Un has been accused multiple times of "operations against financial institutions and virtual currency exchange houses" that are used to fund weapons development. The constant crypto hacks appear to be part of that.