June 6, 2023

North Korean hackers stole $721 million in cryptocurrency from Japan

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North Korean hackers stole $721 million in cryptocurrency from Japan

North Korean-linked hacker groupsstole $721 million in cryptocurrency from Japanese entrepreneurs from 2017 to January 1, 2023, according to a study by Elliptic published by the Nikkei agency.

The amount is 30% of the total lossesfrom the actions of hackers from the DPRK around the world. Analysts of the publication believe that Pyongyang has set its sights on the crypto assets of other countries in order to obtain foreign currency that can be used to develop a missile program. This, in turn, could threaten the security of all of Asia.

North Korea uses two main typescyberattacks: hacker attacks and ransomware. Elliptic's analysis mainly revealed hacking attacks - theft directly from cryptocurrency exchanges. North Korea has focused its efforts on direct attacks on exchanges, as one successful hack can bring in a huge amount of crypto assets, analysts say.

According to Elliptic, from 2017 to the end of 2022North Korea has stolen a total of $2.3 billion in crypto across the planet. Japan accounted for the largest share, followed by Vietnam ($540 million), the US ($497 million) and Hong Kong ($281 million).

Hackers are targeting Japan and Vietnam becauseThe local cryptocurrency markets are expanding rapidly, and the security of many operators is weak. At least three Japanese cryptocurrency exchanges were hacked by North Korean hackers between 2018 and 2021, according to a person familiar with the situation.

North Korean crackers have long been working incryptosphere - hack protocols and steal digital assets. In February, the United Nations submitted a report to the North Korea Sanctions Committee, according to which North Korean hackers stole more crypto assets in 2022 than in any other year.