Last year, North Korean hackers stole about $400 million worth of cryptocurrency in at least seven major attacks on crypto platforms. “Only 20 percent of the stolen funds were in bitcoin…and for the first time ever, ether accounted for the majority of the stolen funds at 58 percent,” said blockchain data analysis firm Chainalysis.
North Korean hackers stole $400 million in cryptocurrency last year
Blockchain analysis platform Chainalysis released an analysis of North Korean hackers and their unlaundered crypto assets on Thursday. The company describes:
North Korean cybercriminals have had a bumper year in 2021, launching at least seven attacks on cryptocurrency platforms that extracted nearly $400 million worth of digital assets last year.
“These attacks are mainly targeting investment firms and centralized exchanges,” the company explained.
Chainalysis added that the hackers “utilized phishing lures, code vulnerabilities, malware, and advanced social engineering” to move funds from the company’s hot wallet to addresses controlled by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), detailing:
Once North Korea gained custody of the funds, they began a careful money-laundering process to cover up and cash out.
Chainalysis noted: “North Korea’s hacking activity is on the rise again in 2021. From 2020 to 2021, the number of North Korea-related hacks jumped from 4 to 7, and the value extracted from these hacks increased by 40% .”
The company also detailed that Bitcoin now accounts for less than a quarter of the cryptocurrency stolen by North Korea, adding:
In 2021, only 20% of stolen funds will be in Bitcoin, while 22% will be in ERC-20 tokens or altcoins. For the first time ever, Ethereum accounted for the majority of stolen funds, at 58%.
“More than 65% of North Korean stolen funds were laundered through mixers this year, up from 42% in 2020 and 21% in 2019, suggesting that these threat actors are taking a more cautious approach each year,” the company concluded. manner.”
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