North Korean hackers stole almost $400m (£291m) worth of digital assets in at least seven attacks on cryptocurrency platforms last year, a report claims.
Chainalysis Blockchain Analysis Company said it was one the best years for cybercriminals in East Asian closed state.
The attack was mainly directed against centralised exchanges as well as investment firms.
North Korea routinely denies being part of hacking attacks that were attributed to it.
Chainalysis stated in a report that the number of hacks linked to North Korea grew from 4 to 7 between 2020 and 2021. The value extracted from the hacks also grew by 40%.
According to the company, hackers employed a variety of methods, such as phishing lures, malware, and code exploits to siphon money from organizations’ hot wallets. Then, they moved it into North Korean-controlled addresses.
The cryptocurrency hot wallets can be hacked because they are connected to both the internet and to cryptocurrency networks. These hot wallets can be used to receive and send cryptocurrency. They also allow you to check how many tokens you have.
Experts recommend that large quantities of cryptocurrency are moved to cold wallets. These wallets can be disconnected from the rest of the internet.
Chainalysis stated that it was likely that most of the attacks last year were carried out by the Lazarus Group. This hacking group is sanctioned and supported by the US. It is thought to be under the control of the Reconnaissance General Bureau, North Korea’s main intelligence bureau.
Lazarus Group is previously implicated in “WannaCry” ransomware, hacking of customer accounts abroad and international banks as well as cyber-attacks targeting Sony Pictures.
- Massive cyberattack on 99 countries
- Sony Pictures hacks computer system
- Lazarus theft: Hackers attempted to steal $1bn
According to the cyber attack report for last year, “North Korea took custody of these funds and began laundering carefully in order to hide them from the authorities.”
An UN panel monitoring sanctions against North Korea accused Pyongyang using stolen funds in order to finance its ballistic missile and nuclear programs to avoid international sanctions.
Separately in February, US authorities charged three North Korean computer programmers with hacking spree that aimed to steal over $1.3bn and cryptocurrency.
The Department of Justice stated that cyber attacks have affected banks as well as Hollywood studios.
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