North Korean hackers stole nearly $400mn in crypto in 2021

January 16, 2022

North Korea’s hackers launched at least seven attacks on global cryptocurrency platforms in 2021, stealing nearly $400 million worth of digital assets, according to Bloomberg.

The news agency cited a report released by blockchain research firm Chainalysis, which said that the haul marked a 40% increase from a year before. The hackers primarily targeted investment firms and centralized exchanges.

Chainalysis’s conclusions say that the country’s Kim Jong Un’s relied on state-supported hackers to help finance North Korea’s nuclear arms program and prop up the sanction-hit economy.

The crypto consulting firm said North Korea deployed phishing lures, code exploits, malware and advanced social engineering to steal funds which is roughly 1.5% of North Korea’s economy in 2020 and would likely account for more than 10% of its annual military budget.

The money North Korea gets from cybercrimes helps it “fund government priorities, such as its nuclear and missile program,” the U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence said in an unclassified report in 2021.

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