North Korea Stole Over $600 Million in Crypto in 2023

North Korea Stole Over $600 Million in Crypto in 2023

North Korea was responsible for more than $600 million worth of cryptocurrency being stolen in 2023, blockchain intelligence company TRM labs announced Friday.

State-sponsored attacks supporting weapons of mass destruction

In its latest report, TRM Labs suggests that the total value of cryptocurrency stolen in hacks committed in the final days of 2023 may be closer to $700 million, with many of the hacks thought to have been carried out by North Korea.

While the data is still unconfirmed, the analytics firm believes that the value of the stolen cryptocurrency could be much higher than initially estimated.

The DPRK’s use of illicit facilitation networks to access the international financial system and generate revenue using virtual currency for the regime’s unlawful weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and ballistic missile programs directly threatens international security, according to Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian E. Nelson.

Last year, Nelson announced sanctions against the DPRK in response to its use of virtual currency to fund its WMD and ballistic missile programs.

“The use of illicit facilitation networks and virtual currency by the DPRK to access the international financial system is a direct threat to international security and directly undermines the sanctions regime put in place by the United Nations Security Council and the United States,” he said at the time.

North Korean hacks are 10x more damaging than their counterparts

Since 2017, TRM Labs has estimated that $3 billion worth of crypto has been stolen by Pyongong-based actors. The data analytics firm found crypto-related hacks backed by the government of North Korea to be at least ten times more damaging than their counterparts.

Since “the DPRK’s money laundering methods constantly evolve to evade international law enforcement pressure,” the country “continued exploring other laundering tools” in response to the U.S. government’s hard-hitting sanctions last year.

Nearly $1.5 billion stolen by DPRK in the past two years alone 

In 2023, TRM Labs alleged that the North Korean government was responsible for one-third of all funds stolen in crypto attacks. Despite international vigilance, it remains to be seen what to expect from the country’s crypto-related malware in 2024.

The latest report from TRM Labs warns that North Korea’s hacking prowess demands continuous vigilance and innovation from business and governments.

Despite notable advancements in cybersecurity among exchanges and increased international collaboration in tracking and recovering stolen funds, 2024 is likely to see further disruption from the world’s most prolific cyber-thief.

Leave a Comment