On Monday, a renowned publishing house revealed that the United Nations (UN), in a confidential report, briefed North Korea’s crypto theft.
The UN noted that North Korea stole $630 million of crypto last year. Interestingly, its estimate is considerably lower than a competing estimate from Chainalysis, an on-chain analytics firm, published last week. Chainalysis suggested that the country had stolen over $1.7 billion of crypto in 2022, representing slightly less than half of the $3.8 billion that was stolen.
However, the UN suggested that variations in the dollar value of stolen cryptocurrency might be responsible for the difference between the two estimates.
Interestingly, even though the estimates of the UN are nearly three times lower than the estimates of Chainalyis, it says that 2022 was undoubtedly a record-breaking year for North Korean cryptocurrency theft, irrespective of the account.
In addition, the UN highlighted that North Korea targeted foreign aerospace and defense companies and their networks to steal information. Using ransomware, North Korea could extort payments from their possession of that information.
Sources reveal that the published sections of the report do not explicitly state that those payments were made in cryptocurrency, but virtually all ransomware relies on Bitcoin payments, implying that North Korean attackers were almost certainly paid in cryptocurrency.
Apart from ransomware, North Korean groups have been implicated in various crypto incidents, including attacks on Harmony Protocol, Ronin Bridge, and individual Japanese crypto firms. Furthermore, North Korea’s alleged use of the Tornado Cash coin mixer was one reason the U.S. Treasury sanctioned the protocol in August last year.
Long-term reports published by a South Korean agency in December also suggested that North Korean hackers have stolen $1.2 billion since 2017. The UN report is set to become public in the coming months.
Todayq News reported a statement 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.
A few days back, 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.