It’s one of the most productive years for Pyongyang, according to a new report by Chainalysis cryptocurrency agencies.
From 2020 to 2021, the number of cyber-attacks related to North Korea increased from four to seven, while the value of digital data stolen from these malicious attacks increased by 40%, according to a report released yesterday. .
“Once the digital currencies became the property of North Korea, a careful process of money laundering began in order to cover the source, but also to disburse them,” the report added.
A team of UN experts monitoring international sanctions against North Korea has accused Pyongyang of using the money it steals to support its nuclear and ballistic missile development programs, bypassing sanctions (https: //www.reuters .com / article / us-northkorea-sanctions-cyber-idUSKBN2AA00Q).
North Korea has not responded to media inquiries, but has previously issued statements dismissing allegations of its actions in cybercrime attacks.
Last year, the United States accused three North Korean computer programmers of stealing more than $ 1.3 billion in both regular and cryptocurrencies, affecting the operations of banking companies. to movie production companies in Hollywood (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-northkorea-cyber-idUSKBN2AH2B5).
Chainalysis did not identify all the targets of the malicious cyberattacks, but said they were primarily investment companies, but also companies trading in cryptocurrencies such as Liquid.com.
Liquid.com announced in August that a user, without proper authorization, had gained access to some of the cryptocurrency wallets managed by the same company.
The hackers used electronic deception, password fraud, malware, and advanced social media management tactics to extract large amounts of cryptocurrencies from the e-wallets of large companies that had large deposits. The cryptocurrencies were routed to North Korean-controlled e-mail addresses, according to the same report.
Several of last year ‘s attacks may have been carried out by the Lazarus Group, a US – sanctioned group of hackers controlled by North Korea’ s main spy agency (https: // www. reuters.com/article/uk-northkorea-usa-sanctions-idUKKCN1VY1RM)
The group of hackers has been accused of malicious cyber attacks against international banks and “WannaCry” bank accounts, but also of cyber attacks against Sony Pictures Entertainment in 2014.
North Korea also appears to be stepping up its efforts to launder stolen cryptocurrencies, while escalating the use of digital tools to collect cryptocurrencies from thousands of email addresses, according to Chainalysis.
According to the same report, $ 170 million was found in cryptocurrency amounts from 49 separate cyber attacks carried out from 2017 to 2021, while the reason why the hackers still keep these amounts in cryptocurrencies has not been determined. It is alleged in the same report that they are waiting to go beyond the scope of the law enforcement services, in order to then wash them.
“Whatever the reason, the time period in which North Korea wants to maintain control of these cryptocurrencies is enlightening, as it suggests a cautious plan, not a plan drawn up hastily and under pressure,” the Chainalysis concluded. .
Source From: Capital