- North Korean hackers will have stolen over $1 billion in 2022.
- The Lazarus group is the most vicious hacker doing North Korea's dirty job.
- North Korea's hacking is a response to economic sanctions by the US.
Hacking is the biggest threat in cybersecurity today. The practice is so rampant and organized, with renowned entities taking part. CryptoMonday has been analyzing cyber attacks lately. Their data suggest that North Korean hackers are responsible for over $1 billion stolen in 2022.
Speaking on the data, CryptoMonday CEO Jonathan Merry said:
Lazarus Group is one of the most active cybercrime syndicates in the world today. The group handles many North Korean government-sponsored hacks on crypto exchanges. The Lazarus group doesn't work alone. So far, Lazarus' total hacks stand at $1 billion in bitcoin. Blender.io acts as an associate of the Lazarus group. It involves laundering monies stolen by the Lazarus Group and other North Korean associates.CryptoMonday CEO Jonathan Merry
According to analysts, Lazarus is under the command of the Reconnaissance General Bureau. The group is known for carrying out diverse attacks. The hacking of foreign banks, the WannaCry ransomware attacks, and the hacking of sony pictures have the signature of Lazarus.
The $1 billion is the culmination of various attacks, with the latest being $100 M on California blockchain, Harmony. The report also states that these cyber thefts account for 60% of all assets stolen in 2022.
The regime has dedicated many resources to the theft of cryptos over the past few years. According to the US Treasury, the regime was responsible for one of the most significant crypto heists in history in March 2022. The heist led to a loss of nearly $615 million.
The recent drop in crypto markets has wiped out millions of dollars worth of North Korea's wealth. Thus, making it more difficult for the country to profit from the stolen assets.
According to reports, Pyongyang's missile program has cost about $650 million this year. Experts worry that Pyongyang could resort to alternative means to fund a missile program if the crypto crisis continues.
US Sanctions and North Korea’s Hacks
North Korea has been making rapid strides in developing ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons. The strides are coinciding with Pyongyang's increasingly brazen attacks in cyberspace.
With the US economic sanctions against the armament, North Korea has to find avenues of financial support. Therefore, the country has turned to ransomware and cyber attacks to sustain its operations.
North Korean hackers are swift and vicious. They conduct high-speed payments to a mixer to cover their trail. Thus, it isn't easy to pin them down.