Crypto Users Lost Nearly $700 Million to North Korean Hackers in 2023

Data projections from TRM Labs have noted that North Korean hackers have stolen around $700 million in cryptocurrencies during 2023. The cybersecurity analytics firm has noted that $600 million worth of stolen digital assets were confirmed based on their research.

The blockchain intelligence firm has attributed the hack attacks to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). As per the statistics, hackers hailing from the region are responsible for 33% of total cryptocurrency thefts taking place in 2023.

In a 5th January report, TRM Labs noted that the total amount of stolen digital currencies for North Korean hackers can amount to $700 million for 2023.

The report has suggested $600 million are confirmed attributed to the DPRK group. The report has also stated that the group has stolen around $3 billion in cryptocurrencies since 2017. This report reveals that the total number of hack attacks increased during last year.

At the same time, the blockchain intelligence firm also purported that DPRK hackers have also participated in money laundering using methods to circumvent international monetary regulations. The research suggests that hackers breached the private keys or seed phrases of targeted wallets.

TRM Labs and DPRK Group

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TRM Labs analysts opine that DPRK Group acquires seed phrases and private keys of targeted wallets and uses them to redirect funds to DPRK-controlled wallet accounts. Once the hackers have siphoned different types of cryptocurrencies they exchange them with Tether or Tron tokens.

An analyst from the blockchain intelligence firm noted that North Korean hackers require governments and private businesses to incorporate the latest cybersecurity measures.

The analyst also noted that regardless of the latest preventive measures incorporated by sovereign states and international collaboration in fund recovery and tracking, 2024 is likely to see a rise in the total number of digital asset thefts.

United States Treasury Department has imposed sanctions on hackers and digital crime syndicates that are allegedly traced back to North Korea. At present, there are financial sanctions against cryptocurrency mixers such as Tornado Cash and Sindbad. In this context, the TRM Labs analyst opines that the DPRK Group is trying to discover new laundering tools.

Cybersecurity Firm Reports 751 DeFi Breaches in 2023

Cybersecurity firm CertiK recently reported that during 2023 around 751 breaches were reported on cryptocurrency projects. The report suggests that the attacks led to the loss of more than $1.8 billion in cryptocurrencies. The report suggests that the DPRK Group accounts for around 1/3rd of all hack attacks on cryptocurrency projects.

The biggest amount of loss was recorded from the Ethereum blockchain quoting $686 million in siphoned during 224 attempts. At the same time, investigators hailing from the United States have cited digital assets as one of the main reasons for imposing more sanctions.

Legislators have directed their attention to cryptocurrency mixers with claims that the platform is usually used for illegal business practices. Meanwhile, Tornado Cash a sanctioned crypto mixer launched a new 2.0 version in June 2023. Matthew Niemerg, the co-founder of Aleph Zero recently noted that mixers are making use of Zero Knowledge or Zk-proofs.

He noted that this technology balances the privacy of individual investors while revealing partial chunks of data to particular entities such as private banking firms and federal agencies. Tornado Cash was first launched in 2019 as experimental software via a multi-sig wallet.

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