Here’s How North Korean Crypto Hackers Stole $600M in 2023

The illicitly acquired funds were laundered through crypto mixers, OTC brokers, and other advanced techniques.

Kim Jong Un and his gang celebrating their hacking efforts.
Created by Kornelija Poderskytė from DailyCoin
  • North Korean-linked hackers accounted for a third of crypto thefts last year.
  • These attackers utilized various advanced techniques for their malicious acts.
  • The majority of the stolen funds were laundered through crypto mixers.

North Korea is infamous for its position as a formidable threat to the cryptocurrency industry, responsible for some of the notorious cyber heists in history. For years, the country has maintained a malevolent track record, causing considerable damage and siphoning off substantial amounts.

Against this backdrop, the group is once thrust into the spotlight for the extensive impact of the havoc wrought through 2023. 

North Korean Hackers’ Theft Streak 

On Friday, January 5, blockchain analytics expert TRM Labs reported that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) was responsible for pilfering nearly one-third of all funds stolen in crypto attacks in 2023.

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Majority of the hacks were executed through a variety of malicious techniques, such as compromising private keys and seed phrases, amongst other crucial security elements of digital wallets.

Upon acquisition, the stolen digital assets are moved to designated wallet addresses, before being converted into USDT or Tron, and exchanged for hard currency via high-volume OTC brokers.

The groups also employed sophisticated money laundering techniques, which are constantly adapting to maintain elusiveness. One of their favored crypto mixers, Tornado Cash, faced sanctions in August 2023 by the U.S. Department of Justice, prompting the hackers to explore alternative methods.

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The infamous North Korean-backed Lazarus were responsible for the September Stake.com hack, the June $35 million Atomic Wallet drain, and $100 million Harmony hack

Read more on the amount lost to phishing scams hacks last year:
324,000 Crypto Investors Fell Prey to Phishing Scams in 2023 

SEC set to approve bitcoin ETFs? Find out more:
Bitcoin ETFs Get Final SEC Comments: Approval Today Unlikely

This article is for information purposes only and should not be considered trading or investment advice. Nothing herein shall be construed as financial, legal, or tax advice. Trading forex, cryptocurrencies, and CFDs pose a considerable risk of loss.

Author
Grace Abidemi

Grace Abidemi, a cryptocurrency reporter at DailyCoin, covers industry developments and trends. She previously worked as a freelance writer. With a Bachelor's degree in German Language and certifications in marketing and storytelling, Grace creates engaging content. When not working, she's in Nigeria, mastering cooking and canvas painting, and enjoys learning about different cultures and languages.