Blockchain analytics firm TRM Labs finds that North Korean hackers have looted more than $2 billion worth of crypto in the past five years.
In a new blog post, the data firm notes that the staggering total was built up across 30 different attacks on crypto projects.
The majority of North Korean exploits in recent years have focused on decentralized finance (DeFi), with cross-chain bridges a particular point of focus.
North Korean hackers have stolen $200 million worth of crypto year to date, which is roughly one-quarter of the total amount taken last year, according to TRM. This year’s number shows that North Korean exploiters account for 20% of the total amount of crypto looted in 2023.
TRM also notes that North Korean hackers have improved their on-chain laundering methodologies over time.
“North Korea’s early exploits – which tend to involve the direct use of cryptocurrency exchanges – now feature highly complex, multi-stage money laundering processes in response to more aggressive OFAC (Office of Foreign Assets Control) sanctions, law enforcement focus, and improved tracing capabilities.”
The crypto analytics firm says chain-hopping is a technique hackers have been using to cover their tracks in the past few years.
Chain-hopping is a form of money laundering where one type of crypto asset is converted to another type and funds are moved across multiple chains, according to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).Don't Miss a Beat – Subscribe to get email alerts delivered directly to your inbox
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