Hackers Swipe $700 Million in 2023: Blockchain Intel Firm Issues Warning

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Blockchain intelligence company TRM Labs revealed that approximately 33% of cryptocurrency stolen in 2023 through hacking incidents was traced back to groups associated with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).

TRM Labs’ report on January 5,2024 highlighted that North Korean hackers may have illicitly obtained up to $700 million in cryptocurrency during 2023, with confirmed research indicating $600 million. The cumulative crypto theft by DPRK hackers since 2017 has reached around $3 billion, indicating a surge in attacks involving digital assets in the past year.

The blockchain firm emphasized that the DPRK’s strategies for money laundering are continually evolving to avoid detection by international law enforcement. Their research indicated a consistent pattern where hackers compromise users’ private keys or seed phrases, transfer funds to DPRK-controlled wallets, and subsequently exchange the assets for Tether.

TRM Labs stressed the necessity for ongoing vigilance and innovation from businesses and governments to counter North Korea’s formidable hacking capabilities. Despite advancements in cybersecurity among exchanges and increased global cooperation in tracking and recovering stolen funds, the firm anticipates further disruptions from the world’s most prolific cyber-thief in 2024.

The United States Treasury Department responded to the threat by imposing sanctions on individuals and hacking groups linked to North Korea, including Lazarus. Following sanctions against cryptocurrency mixers Tornado Cash and Sinbad, TRM Labs reported that the DPRK is exploring alternative laundering tools.

CertiK’s report on January 3 revealed a total of 751 breaches in 2023, resulting in over $1.8 billion in crypto losses. DPRK hackers were alleged to be responsible for one-third of these breaches. The Ethereum network experienced the most significant losses at $686 million across 224 incidents.

U.S. officials frequently cite digital assets as a basis for imposing sanctions on specific entities, such as the terrorist group Hamas after its October 7 attack on Israel. Lawmakers have targeted cryptocurrency mixers, claiming that the technology is primarily utilized for illicit purposes.

Mohamed Nabil Ali

A Trailblazing IT Expert, Technology Geek, and Bughunter.
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