The United Nations (UN) is currently delving into hacking activities linked to North Korea, with its findings slated to be published in the coming weeks. The investigation centers on cyberattacks carried out by groups associated with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) between 2017 and 2023, targeting cryptocurrency firms and leading to gains of an estimated $3 billion.
Reuters referenced unreleased UN documents, stating that an independent sanction committee is leading the probe into these suspected DPRK-backed hacking groups. Around 58 firms in the crypto industry were allegedly exploited as part of the DPRK’s schemes to allegedly fund their weapons of mass destruction (WMD) development strategies.
In recent years, DPRK-associated hacking groups have increasingly come under the global spotlight for their purported responsibility in major crypto heists. Data from Chainalysis suggests that these groups may have pilfered around $1 billion from 20 separate hacks conducted in 2023. This represents a slight decrease from the retreats endured in 2022, which added up to $1.7 billion following a series of 15 hacking incidents.
However, the risks within the Decentralized finance (DeFi) sector are diverse and sophisticated, with hackers exploring and exploiting both on-chain and off-chain vulnerabilities. In 2023, experts estimated that the crypto assets stolen by DPRK-linked hackers amounted to a little over $1 billion. Notably, the number of recorded hacking incidents surged to 20 during this period.
Blockchain data company, TRM Labs, predicts that hacking groups, as they constantly evolve their methods, may wreak even more havoc in the year ahead, despite growing international cooperation in tracing and reclaiming stolen assets.
On another front, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime issued a warning about the misuse of crypto in burgeoning illegal economies across East and Southeast Asia, emphasizing the growing problem of unregulated casinos and elaborate romance scams in the Mekong region.