North Korean cybercriminals stole almost $400m worth of digital assets in 2021

Research by Chainalysis has found North Korean cybercriminals stole close to $400m worth of digital assets across at least seven cyberattacks last year.

According to Finextra, the report explored how investment firms and centralised exchanges were primarily targeted and techniques such as phishing, code exploits, malware and social engineering were used to extract funds from these organisations’ internet-connected ‘hot’ wallets into DPRK-controlled addresses.

Chainalysis stated that it believed several the attacks in 2021 were conducted by the Lazarus Group, which is a hacking group believed to be controlled by Reconnaissance General Bureau, which is North Korea’s primary intelligence bureau.

The Lazarus Group was previously accused of involvement in the WannaCry ransomware attacks as well as the 2014 hacks of Sony Pictures.

Chainanalysis also claimed that once these funds were attained, a laundering cover up and cash out effort ensued. Between 2020 and 2021, the amount of North Korean-linked hacks climbed from four to seven with the value extracted from the hacks hiking by 40%.

In addition, the report found that for the first time, Ether was the most-stolen cryptocurrency at 58%.

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