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North Korea Stole More Crypto in 2022 than Any Other Year: UN Report

According to a study filed to the United Nations, North Korean cyber assaults have grown far more sophisticated and profitable than ever before.

According to a classified United Nations study, North Korean hackers stole more crypto assets in 2022 than in any previous year.

The UN assessment, seen by Reuters, was apparently submitted last week to a 15-member North Korean sanctions committee.

It discovered that North Korean-linked hackers stole between $630 million and more than $1 billion in crypto assets last year, targeting networks of multinational aerospace and military industries.

The UN study also stated that cyber attacks were more sophisticated than in previous years, making it more difficult than ever to trace stolen assets.

“[North Korea] used increasingly sophisticated cyber techniques both to gain access to digital networks involved in cyber finance and to steal information of potential value, including information related to its weapons programs,” according to an independent sanctions monitor’s report to the UN Security Council Committee.

A similar conclusion was reached last week in a research from blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis, which linked North Korean hackers to at least $1.7 billion in stolen cryptocurrency in 2022, the biggest in history.

The cybercriminal syndicates were listed by the business as the most “prolific bitcoin hackers in recent years.”

“To put this in context, North Korea’s overall exports in 2020 totaled $142 million in products, so it’s not a reach to suggest that cryptocurrency hacking represents a major piece of the nation’s economy,” Chainalysis stated.

According to Chainalysis, at least $1.1 billion of the stolen treasure was obtained through DeFi protocol attacks, making North Korea one of the driving factors behind the DeFi hacking trend that is expected to intensify in 2022.

The company also discovered that North Korean-linked hackers frequently transmit huge quantities to mixers like Tornado Cash and Sinbad.

“In reality, cash from North Korea-linked attacks travel to mixers at a far greater pace than those stolen by other people or organisations,” Chainalysis reported.

North Korea has consistently denied being involved for cyber assaults, but a new UN assessment claims North Korea’s principal intelligence department, the Reconnaissance General Bureau, employs multiple organizations, including Kimsuky, the Lazarus Group, and Andariel, exclusively for cyber attacks.

“These actors continued to target victims illicitly to earn income and solicit information of value to the DPRK, especially its weapons programs,” according to the UN study.

The complete report, which was presented to the 15-member council’s North Korea sanctions committee last week, is expected to be released later this month or early March.


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