How North Korea’s Elite Hackers Stole a Fortune in Crypto: A $3 Billion Tale by the UN

Last Updated on March 22, 2024

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Key Takeaways:

  • The UN Security Council is investigating 17 cryptocurrency thefts in 2023, attributing over $750 million in losses to suspected North Korean activities.
  • From 2017 to 2023, North Korea is estimated to have stolen $3 billion through cryptocurrency heists, using these funds to support its weapons development programs and circumvent international sanctions.
  • North Korea, described as “the world’s most prolific cyber-thief,” relies heavily on cyberattacks on the cryptocurrency sector, making up about half of its foreign revenue.

A UN Security Council panel is currently delving into 17 cryptocurrency thefts that occurred in 2023, with suspicions pointing towards North Korea’s involvement. These thefts collectively amounted to a staggering sum exceeding $750 million.

Between 2017 and 2023, cryptocurrency heists linked to North Korea are estimated to have siphoned off $3 billion, as reported by South Korea’s Yonhap news agency, referencing a study conducted by the United Nations (UN) Security Council.

This same UN panel is scrutinizing 17 cryptocurrency thefts in 2023 alone, suspected to be the handiwork of North Korea, with the stolen amount topping $750 million.

The period from 2017 to 2023 saw around 58 potential cyberattacks targeting companies associated with cryptocurrencies, underscoring the magnitude of this issue.

Guy hacker sits at a table in front of a laptop on a dark background. The man is stealing data. The concept of cybercrime and cybersecurity.

The findings suggest that such cyberattacks constitute a significant source of foreign currency for North Korea, contributing to approximately half of its revenue from abroad.

This income reportedly supports the country’s weapons development programs.

The focus on the cryptocurrency sector by North Korea has been identified as a strategy to circumvent international sanctions.

The country has been labeled as “the world’s most prolific cyber-thief” due to its aggressive targeting of this industry.

In a related revelation, cybersecurity firm Recorded Future estimated that the Lazarus Group, a hacker organization with ties to North Korea, has pilfered $3 billion in cryptocurrency over the past six years.

About The Author

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Victor Fawole, a seasoned Web3 content creator and social media influencer, excels in bringing the pulse of the crypto world to our readers.

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