UpdatesAug 21, 2023

North Korean Hackers Stole $200M in Digital Assets in 2023

According to data from the American company TRM Labs, North Korean cybercriminals have stolen over $2 billion in digital currencies over the past 5 years.

Although 2023 is not over yet, hackers associated with North Korea have already managed to steal a huge amount of funds from injured cryptocurrency users. This is because the scale of losses suffered by unwitting victims exceeded $ 200 million this year. It is worth noting that this accounts for over 20% of all cryptocurrency assets stolen in 2023.

North Korean hackers are attacking heavily this year

TRM Labs is an American company based in San Francisco that was founded in 2018. An important fact is that it includes former members of INTERPOL, the Australian Federal Police, and additionally people previously employed by the British National Crime Agency and IRS Criminal Investigation. The company also employs former FBI and US Secret Service agents.

The latest information provided to the media by the spokesperson of the above-mentioned company shows that North Korean hackers still invariably use countless techniques for laundering stolen digital assets. Recently, they have been using, among others, cryptocurrency mixers that are part of the DeFi sector.

Experts from TRM Labs recently observed that after OFAC sanctioned the popular cryptocurrency mixer Tornado Cash in 2022, North Korean cybercriminals began to favor another project that is similar to Tornado Cash, specifically Sinbad, as a service that also serves as a digital currency mixer.

Quite recently, in June 2023, South Korean hackers attacked users of the popular Atomic Wallet project, thus stealing about $100 million in Bitcoins (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Ripple (XRP), Tron (TRX), Litecoin (LTC), Stellar (XLM), as well as in Dogecoin (DOGE).

Advantages and disadvantages related to the DeFi ecosystem

As a result of its analytical activities, TRM Labs drew attention to the importance of robust cyber security. The experts of this company specifically meant to highlight the advantages of hardware security modules for managing cryptographic keys. They also added a few comments about the high utility of whitelisting addresses to limit the transfer of funds to trusted recipients only. They also pointed out that it is also important to securely store keys and passwords offline.

A spokesperson for TRM Labs explained during his recent speech that the DeFi ecosystem gives users of this innovative finance space the ability to be their own bank. However, the community of this sector faces long-term challenges in the form of self-control and self-care over their own digital assets. This means nothing more than that the cryptocurrency community involved in the development of decentralized finance bears all responsibility for the security of its assets.