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$272 Million in Ethereum Stolen by North Korean Hackers in 2021


u.today 13 January 2022 17:25, UTC
Reading time: ~2 m

  • Blockchain sleuth Chainalysis has estimated that hackers from North Korea pilfered $395 million worth of cryptocurrencies last year by conducting seven successful security breaches, Wired reports.

    Notably, Ethereum accounted for 58% of the sum ($272 million). Bitcoin, the leading cryptocurrency, only represents a fifth of the $400 million figure. The share of Ethereum-based tokens stands at 11%.

    The total amount of crypto stolen by the Hermit Kingdom has now eclipsed $1.5 billion, according to Chainalysis data.

    Being one of the most heavily sanctioned countries in the world, North Korea is a pariah on the global economic stage.

    Close ties with China, which purchases 90% of North Korea's goods, help to keep the floundering economy going, but the communist state also engages in various criminal activities. After drug trafficking and counterfeiting, cybercrime has emerged as a new source of revenue for the rogue communist state, with cryptocurrency exchanges being lucrative targets for North Korea's military hacking units.

The tyrannical Kim Jong Un regime relies on its hackers to fund the development of sophisticated ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons.

In 2018, North Korean hackers pilfered $522 million, which remains its biggest yearly haul to date.

The notorious Lazarus hacking group, which pulled off a large-scale breach of Sony Pictures in 2014, was responsible for robbing Singapore-based cryptocurrency exchange KuCoin of $275 million in 2020.

North Korean hackers deploy complicated techniques to launder stolen money.

Last September, Ethereum developer Virgil Griffith pleaded guilty to helping North Korea circumvent U.S. sanctions.

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