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North Korea Responsible for 30% of All Cryptocurrency Stolen Since 2017


May 18, 2023

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North Korea Responsible for 30% of All Cryptocurrency Stolen Since 2017

North Korean hackers stole $2.3 billion in cryptocurrency from companies in Asia, including Japan, Vietnam and Hong Kong. The United States is also among the countries affected by these attacks.

North Korea is responsible for many of the cryptocurrency hacks and other types of attacks in the world. Threat actors like the Lazarus Group have operated from North Korea with impunity for years. Given how that totalitarian state is internally organized, the Lazarus Group likely works directly at the behest of the government.

According to a report put together by Elliptic on behalf of Nikkei, hacker groups from North Korea, or at least affiliated with it, stole $721 million in cryptocurrency from Japan since 2017, roughly 30 percent of all funds stolen by these threat actors. Needless to say, the main focus of North Korea remains Asian states.

In total, hackers have stolen $2.3 billion in cryptocurrency from companies since 2017.

“Of that, Japan accounted for the largest portion, followed by Vietnam ($540 million), the U.S. ($497 million) and Hong Kong ($281 million),” the report found.

“According to the Japan External Trade Organization, the $721 million stolen from Japan is 8.8 times greater than the value of North Korea's exports in 2021.”

Elliptic also found that hackers targeted countries in which cryptocurrency markets and services, such as crypto exchanges, have grown faster in recent years than the security measures needed to protect them, making them ideal targets.

The $2.3 billion in cryptocurrency stolen by North Korea since 2017 account for 30% of all losses worldwide, highlighting the extent of the operation.




Silviu is a seasoned writer who followed the technology world for almost two decades, covering topics ranging from software to hardware and everything in between.

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