N.Korea 'Hacked $400 Million in Cryptocurrency'

  • By Lee Min-seok

    January 17, 2022 11:46

    North Korea stole about US$400 million of cryptocurrency by hacking last year, a report claims, and dodges the international dragnet by laundering them.

    According to the report by Chainalysis, a U.S. blockchain analysis firm, last week, the North pilfered a total of $395 million through seven hacking attacks last year. The main targets were investment firms, and techniques include phishing lures, code exploits and malware.

    Many of the attacks were carried out by known hackers calling themselves the Lazarus Group, Chainalysis speculated. The group, which is blacklisted by the U.S. and the UN, is believed to have ties with the North's Reconnaissance General Bureau and have come into existence in early 2007.

    It is suspected of having hacked the computer systems of Sony Pictures Entertainment, which produced "The Interview" in 2014 that made a mockery of the regime; hacked the Bangladeshi central bank in 2016; disseminated the WannaCry ransomware in 2017; and hacked Indian ATMs in 2019.

    Ethereum, the preferred currency for so-called NFTs or non-fungible tokens, topped the list of cryptocurrencies the North hacked with 58 percent, while 20 percent were Bitcoin and 22 percent either ERC-20 or altcoin.

    The North then launders the cryptocurrencies several times through various exchanges, the report claimed. 

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