New data from blockchain intelligence firm TRM Labs reveals that North Korean hackers stole over half a billion dollars worth of digital assets in 2023.
According to a new study by the crypto analytics platform, hackers associated with the Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea (DPRK) looted $600 million worth of crypto assets last year.
If confirmed, exploits detected near the end of December indicate that the figure could be as high as $700 million.
“The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was responsible for almost a third of all funds stolen in crypto attacks last year, despite a 30% reduction from the $850 million haul in 2022.
Hacks perpetrated by the DPRK were on average ten times as damaging as those not linked to North Korea. Nearly $3 billion worth of crypto has been lost to Pyongyang-linked threat actors since 2017.”
The study finds that North Korean hackers use crypto mixing tools to obfuscate their illicit actions from law enforcement and move on to other crypto tumblers if their preferred ones become sanctioned.
“The DPRK’s money laundering methods constantly evolve to evade international law enforcement pressure. As US sanctions and enforcement actions targeted Tornado Cash and ChipMixer – its previous go-to obfuscation platforms – North Korea pivoted to another mixer it had already begun using, the BTC service Sinbad.
After Sinbad was sanctioned by OFAC (Office of Foreign Assets Control) in November 2023, North Korea continued exploring other laundering tools.”
TRM Labs concludes by noting that North Korea will continue hacking crypto wallets in 2024.
Previously, TRM Labs found that North Korean hackers looted about $2 billion worth of virtual currencies during the past five years.Don't Miss a Beat – Subscribe to get email alerts delivered directly to your inbox
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