North Korean hackers stole nearly $400 million worth of digital assets in 2021, one of its most lucrative years to date.
This was revealed in a report by blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis.
“Once North Korea gained custody of the funds, they began a careful laundering process to cover up and cash out,” the report said.
A United Nations panel of experts familiar with the sanctions imposed on North Korea alleges that Pyongyang is using stolen assets to fund its nuclear and missile programs.
North Korea, which operates under strict secrecy, has denied the hacking allegations.
Just last year, the U.S. pressed charges against three North Korean computer programmers employed by the state intelligence agency who were allegedly involved in a years-long hacking attack aimed at stealing more than $1.3 billion in money and digital assets.
“The attackers used phishing lures, code exploits, malware, and advanced social engineering to siphon funds out of these organizations’ internet-connected ‘hot’ wallets into North Korea-controlled addresses,” the report said.
Many of last year’s high-profile attacks have been blamed on the Lazarus Group, a hacking syndicate allegedly controlled by the Reconnaissance General Bureau, North Korea’s primary intelligence bureau.
The report also revealed that North Korea is stepping up its efforts to launder stolen cryptocurrencies by increasing the use of mixers – software tools that pool and scramble cryptocurrencies from thousands of addresses.
For more information, read the original story in Reuters.