Record-breaking 2022 for North Korea crypto theft
According to a current United Nations report, North Korea stole more bitcoin assets in 2022 than any other year and targeted the networks of multinational aerospace and defence industries. Independent sanctions monitors reported to a U.N. Security Council committee that (North Korea) used increasingly sophisticated cyber techniques to access digital networks used in cyber finance and to steal information with potential value, including to its weapons programmes.
Record-breaking 2022 for North Korea crypto theft: Key Points
- North Korea has been charged by the monitors of employing cyberattacks to support the funding of its nuclear and missile programmes.
- The monitors’ report, which was delivered to the North Korea sanctions committee of the 15-member council, stated that “a bigger worth of cryptocurrency assets was taken by DPRK actors in 2022 than in any prior year.”
- Prior to this, North Korea has refuted claims of hacking or other cyberattacks.
About North Korea crypto theft
A cybersecurity company calculated that North Korean cybercrime produced digital currencies worth more than $1 billion, while South Korea believed that hackers with North Korean ties stole virtual assets worth $630 million in 2022, according to the sanctions monitors.
According to the observers, the Reconnaissance General Bureau, which is North Korea’s main intelligence agency, controls the majority of the cyberattacks. The cybersecurity sector was claimed to have been keeping an eye on these groups, which included the hacker teams known as Lazarus Group, Andariel, and Kimsuky.
UN report on Crypto Theft
- Additionally, it stated that HOlyGhOst, a North Korean-affiliated gang, had “extorted ransoms from small- and medium-sized firms in various countries by disseminating ransomware in a widespread, financially motivated campaign,” according to a cybersecurity firm.
- The U.N. sanctions monitors reported in 2019 that North Korea had used extensive and increasingly sophisticated cyberattacks over several years to generate an estimated $2 billion for its weapons of mass destruction programmes.
- The monitors added that Pyongyang continued to develop nuclear fissile material at its facilities and fired out at least 73 ballistic missiles, including eight intercontinental ballistic missiles, in their most recent annual report.
North Korea with its Nuclear Test
- North Korea is prepared to conduct its seventh nuclear test, the US has long warned.
- The Security Council has long prohibited North Korea from conducting nuclear testing and ballistic missile launches.
- It has been under U.N. sanctions since 2006, which have been strengthened over time by the Security Council to specifically target Pyongyang’s nuclear and ballistic missile programmes.
However, the monitors claimed that North Korea has kept up its illicit coal shipments and refined petroleum purchases in order to get under the sanctions. They added that they have opened an investigation into claims that North Korea is exporting weapons.
Accusations on Russia and North Korea by the US
- The Russian mercenary firm Wagner Group has been charged by the US for acquiring weapons from North Korea to support Russian forces in Ukraine.
- The accusation has been dismissed by North Korea as unfounded, and Yevgeny Prigozhin, the owner of Wagner, has denied obtaining weapons from the country.
- China and Russia blocked a U.S.-led effort to penalise North Korea further at the United Nations last May.
- Included in this was a suggestion to freeze the Lazarus hacking group’s assets.
- The Lazarus group has been charged with participating in the 2014 cyberattacks on Sony Pictures Entertainment, the “WannaCry” ransomware attacks, and the hacking of multinational banks and customer accounts.
In April, the United States asserted that North Korean hackers were responsible for the loss of hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of bitcoin linked to the well-known online game Axie Infinity. According to Ronin, a blockchain network that enables players to transfer cryptocurrency in and out of games, on March 20, 2022, digital currency worth about $615 million was stolen.