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North Korean Hackers Steal $3 Billion of Cryptocurrency

$3 Billion of Cryptocurrency Stolen by North Korean Hackers Since 2017

  • North Korean hackers have managed to steal a total of $3 billion in cryptocurrencies since 2017.
  • They are reported to have stolen $1.7 billion in crypto in 2022 alone.
  • Their hacking operations, which initially targeted South Korea, have since expanded globally.

Increase in North Korean Cybercrime Activities

Since 2017, North Korean hackers have intensified their efforts to seize assets in the crypto space, acquiring approximately $3 billion worth of cryptocurrencies.

In 2022, they alone stole $1.7 billion, equivalent to roughly half of North Korea’s annual military expenses and approximately 5% of its economy.

quote: “North Korean actors have been accused of stealing around $1.7 billion worth of cryptocurrency in 2022 alone, an amount equivalent to roughly 5% of North Korea’s economy or 45% of its military budget.”

This amount is nearly ten times higher than North Korea’s total export earnings in 2021, which amounted to $182 million.

International Implications

These hacks, initially targeted at South Korea, have expanded globally, supported by North Korean state backing and exceeding the scale of traditional cybercriminals.

Faced with the increasing sophistication of cyberattacks in 2022, making it more difficult to trace the stolen funds, the United States has imposed sanctions against cryptocurrency mixer Sinbad, accused of facilitating money laundering for the North Korean Lazarus group.

The Tornado Cash protocol has also been banned from US territory for similar reasons.

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