April 19, 2024
North Korea-Linked Hackers Reduce Cryptocurrency Theft in 2023, But Threat Persists
Latest Cryptocurrency News

North Korea-Linked Hackers Reduce Cryptocurrency Theft in 2023, But Threat Persists

A blockchain forensics company claims that although the amount of cryptocurrency stolen by North Korea-related hackers is down dramatically from 2022, it is still not necessarily a sign of progress.

The amount of bitcoin taken by hackers connected to North Korea as of September 14 was $340.4 million, compared to the $1.65 billion recorded stolen in 2022, a record.

“The fact that this year’s numbers are down is not necessarily an indicator of improved security or reduced criminal activity,” Chainalysis stated in a Sept. 14 report. “We must remember that 2022 set a dismally high benchmark.”

“In reality, we are only one large hack away from crossing the billion-dollar threshold of stolen funds for 2023.”

Chainalysis

North Korea’s Lazarus Group has been connected to two different hacks over the past ten days, Stake ($40 million) on September 4 and CoinEx ($55 million) on September 12, totaling a loss of more than $95 million.

According to Chainalysis, the most recent two hacks account for 30% of all cryptocurrency cash seized in cyberattacks this year, which is related to North Korea.

“Lazarus continues to be a prolific crypto thief, which is made even more troublesome by the national security threat that the DPRK poses,” Erin Plante, Chainalysis’ vice president of investigations, stated.

Cryptocurrency companies need to teach personnel to combat social engineering techniques frequently used by these hacker groups in order to increase defenses against attacks. She added:

“With North Korean-linked hackers in particular, sophisticated social engineering tactics that take advantage of the trust and carelessness of human nature to gain access to corporate networks have long been a favored attack vector. Teams should be trained on these risks and warning signs.”

Erin Plante, Chainalysis’ vice president of investigations

Meanwhile, Chainalysis has discovered that over the past several years, North Korean hackers have grown more dependent on certain exchanges with a Russian base to launder illegal payments.

According to the company, North Korea has been using various exchanges with a Russian base since 2021. On June 24, 2022, money from Harmony’s $100 million bridge hack was transferred, making it one of the biggest money laundering incidents.

The Lazarus Group also employed Tornado Cash and Blender, two cryptocurrency mixers authorized by the United States, in the Harmony Bridge hack and other well-known hacks.

As North Korea is believed to be using the stolen money to fund its nuclear missile program, the UN is working to put a stop to its use of cybercrime on a global scale.

The company anticipates that greater smart contract audits will make it more difficult for these hackers to operate.

Image: Wallpapers.com

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