In its latest report, the United Nations (UN) has raised an alarm over North Korea’s involvement in criminal activities associated with cryptocurrencies. The report estimates the total sum that North Korea stole via crypto.
According to a recent report by the United Nations Security Council, hackers from North Korea have stolen about $1 billion in crypto assets in 2022. The figure from 2022 is more than twice as much as the sum of stolen funds in 2021.
The annual report stated that the estimated value of North Korea’s theft is somewhere between $630 million to over $1 billion which is twice as much as what was stolen in 2021. While the UN officially published this report recently, traces of it came to public attention in February as reported by Todayq News.
Sources reveal that industry reports have frequently mentioned that North Korea uses sophisticated techniques to carry out crypto crimes. Regarding this trend, the report states:
(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 to its weapons programs…The techniques used by cyber threat actors have become more sophisticated, thus making tracking stolen funds more difficult.
In its report, the UN also urges its member countries to adopt efficient regulatory guidelines to prevent money laundering. Interestingly, the panel stated that there is an investigation relating to apparent exports of military communications equipment to Russia amid the ongoing war with Ukraine. Russia has also maximized the use of cryptocurrencies for evading sanctions.
However, North Korea as always has firmly denied all of these allegations and if he has done anything wrong, but the sanctions continue to pile up. Nonetheless, North Korea is on the radar of regulators across the globe. The country’s extremist policies and outlooks have been deemed threatening and harmful.
A statement also came from the Japanese government regarding the North Korean actors and hackers in October last year. The Lazarus Group, a North Korean criminal hacker organization thought to have lately concentrated more on crypto money because they’re “managed more loosely,” are said to have utilized phishing as a popular attack technique.
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.
The 41,000 ETH transfer on January 13 is linked to more than 350,000 addresses. This amount pales compared to the group’s overall theft revenue, which will total roughly $620 million in 2022 alone. The organization was also in charge of the infamous Ronin Bridge hack, which resulted in the theft of an astounding $600 million.
Not just that, in a report published by the US Treasury Department on Thursday, the agency highlighted potential threats in decentralized finance (DeFi). The report explicitly mentioned North Korea for its involvement in crimes like money laundering and terrorism financing.
In particular, several countries and agencies have flagged these activities as the ultimate threat that needs to be tackled instantly. One of these is also the Financial Action Task Force’s gray list which includes countries with poor anti-money laundering and countering of terrorism financing (AML/CFT).