New York (CNN Business)North Korean hackers stole astir $400 cardinal worthy of cryptocurrency successful 2021, making it 1 of the astir lucrative years to day for cybercriminals successful the severely isolated country, according to a new report.
Hackers launched astatine slightest 7 antithetic attacks past year, chiefly targeting concern firms and centralized exchanges with a assortment of tactics, including phishing, malware and societal engineering, according to the study from Chainalysis, a steadfast that tracks cryptocurrency. The cybercriminals worked to summation entree to organizations' "hot" wallets — integer wallets that are connected to the net — and past determination funds into DPRK-controlled accounts.
The thefts are the latest denotation that the heavy sanctioned state continues to trust connected a web of hackers to assistance money its home programs. A confidential United Nations study previously accused the authorities of North Korea's leader, Kim Jong Un, of conducting "operations against fiscal institutions and virtual currency speech houses" to wage for weapons and support North Korea's system afloat.
Last February, the US Justice Department charged 3 North Koreans for conspiring to bargain much than $1.3 cardinal from banks and companies astir the satellite and orchestrating integer heists of cryptocurrency.
"North Korea is, successful astir respects, chopped disconnected from the planetary fiscal strategy by a agelong sanctions run by the US and overseas partners." said Nick Carlsen, analyst astatine blockchain quality steadfast TRM Labs. "As a effect they person taken to the integer battlefield to bargain crypto in, essentially, [a] slope robbery astatine the velocity of the internet, to money weapons programs, atomic proliferation and different destabilizing activities."
The North Korean hacking efforts person benefited from the surging worth of cryptocurrencies. The emergence successful cryptocurrency prices and usage has mostly made integer assets increasingly attractive to malicious actors, starring to much blockbuster crypto heists successful 2021.
According to Chainalysis, astir of past year's thefts were carried retired by the Lazarus Group, a hacking radical with links to North Korea that has antecedently been linked to the hack connected Sony Pictures, among different incidents. The radical has been deed with US sanctions.
There is small the United States oregon different countries tin practically bash to combat the North Korean crypto hacking activities, different than sanctions and antiaircraft cybersecurity measures, arsenic criminals look nary existent accidental of extradition.
As the cryptocurrency marketplace grows much popular, "we are apt to spot continued involvement by North Korea to people crypto businesses that are young and gathering retired cyber defenses and anti-money laundering controls," said Carlsen.