North Korea’s crypto hacking has cautioned and puts investors and regulators in a tight spot. Countries across the globe have tried various coping mechanisms to keep malicious hackers in check.
One such nation to send out a strong message to the hackers has been South Korea. However, recently, a South Korean government official has claimed that the nation’s policies and actions and in large part the international sanctions have not been able to affect North Korea’s hacking tactics.
According to local media reports, an unnamed Seoul-based government official stated:
The scale of North Korea’s cybercrime-related activities suggests that the international community’s sanctions against North Korea are being rendered powerless.
Additionally, the South Korean government sources were quoted as stating that “illegal” North Korean “foreign currency earnings” last year amounted to $2.3 billion. Additionally, they stated at least $700 million of that figure came from large-scale crypto raids with more crypto “stolen” from “hacking” attacks and phishing on smaller domestic targets.
North Korean hackers have been a common problem for regulators across the globe. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) previously accused North Korea of orchestrating the Ronin Bridge attack. The agency has placed sanctions on Ethereum (ETH) wallets it thinks are linked to the bridge’s suspected hackers.
South Korean authorities also believe Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea, has made money from “illegal exports.” However, Pyongyang has repeatedly denied that it authorizes crypto hacking. North Korea has accused both United States authorities and South Korean authorities of fabricating and alleging false reports about its crypto-related activities.
According to South Korean government officials, the scale of North Korea’s “foreign currency imports is the highest since 2018” – the year when “economic sanctions against North Korea were launched in earnest,” the media outlet explained. Security providers earlier this year predicted a coming “surge” in North Korean crypto hacks.
Security providers and United States government agencies alleged that North Korean hacking groups such as Lazarus Group, a renowned North Korean hacking group, make use of coin-mixing services to anonymize crypto transactions and “launder” money via crypto. They claim that while some such mixers have to be and some have been shut down, others are being rebooted or repackaged. They think this is being done in a bid to allow criminals to convert their crypto to fiat.
North Korean hackers have been consistently exploiting cryptocurrencies for their benefit which has been a big concern for authorities. Todayq News reported a statement from the Japanese government in October last year targeting Lazarus Group. They said that the organization is thought to have lately concentrated more on crypto money because they’re “managed more loosely,” and are said to have utilized phishing as a popular attack technique.
In January, Lazarus Group transferred $63.5 million of the cryptocurrency assets it obtained from the Harmony Bridge attack last year. Online rumors claim that the hacker group sent the money using Railgun, a privacy site, before putting the disguised monies on three other exchanges. Moreover, the outfit keeps developing new strategies to exploit and plunder the open DeFi sector.