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North Korea gets 50% of foreign earnings due to weak security measures in crypto industry, UN says

north-korea-gets-50-of-foreign-earnings-due-to-weak-security-measures-in-crypto-industry-un-says
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North Korea gets 50% of foreign earnings due to weak security measures in crypto industry, UN says

A recent United Nations report highlights North Korea’s significant role in cyberattacks, particularly targeting crypto firms amid sanctions enforcement and nuclear concerns.

The United Nations Security Council has released a new report, indicating North Korea‘s escalating involvement in cyberattacks, which now comprise almost half of its foreign currency earnings, Nikkei Asia reports. Although investigations are still ongoing, the report notes that North Korea has already made around $3 billion thanks to a lack of security measures in crypto-related entities such as protocols and companies.

Although the report lacks legal binding, it may prompt the Security Council and member states to impose new sanctions on entities or individuals found to be in violation, Nikkei Asia notes. Moreover, the report emphasized that around 40% of funds for the development of weapons of mass destruction were obtained through cyberattacks. Recent targets of these operations included defense-related companies, with an increase in sharing infrastructure and tools among hackers affiliated with the Reconnaissance General Bureau, a North Korean primary foreign intelligence service.

Despite the implementation of economic sanctions aimed at curbing financial flows to North Korea and regulating imports and exports, it is evident that cybercriminals affiliated with the country persist in targeting the cryptocurrency market.

In 2023 alone, North Korea-linked hackers stole nearly $430 million from decentralized finance (defi) and also targeted centralized services, exchanges, as well as wallet providers, according to data from blockchain forensics firm Chainalysis. The U.S.-based firm noted that hacking groups Kimsuky and Lazarus Group deployed 20 successful attacks against various platforms, netting around $1 billion worth of crypto in 2023, a 41.7% decrease in terms of stolen money compared to 2022.

”Although the total amount stolen from crypto platforms in 2023 was down significantly from prior years, it is clear that attackers are becoming increasingly sophisticated and diverse in their exploits.” Chainalysis

Last year, hackers managed to pilfer only $1.1 billion from smart contracts, indicating a 63.7% year-over-year decrease in the total value stolen from decentralized finance, with experts attributing this decline to the bolstered security measures implemented in defi protocols.