Over $3.8 billion in crypto was stolen in a year and most of it went to North Korea
Hackers stole a total of $3.8 billion worth of cryptocurrency last year, surpassing the record of $3.3 billion set in 2021, according to a report published by blockchain analytics firm Chainanalysis.
From there, they point out that the hacker’s achievement for the past year is impressive, given the fact that the crypto market suffered a serious crash.
Cryptocurrency theft reached two peaks last year, in March and October, with $732 million and $776 million in crypto stolen in those two months alone.
The complex encryption mechanisms underlying blockchain technology – public ledgers recording transactions on blockchain networks – make them nearly impenetrable to hacker attacks. Almost.
Despite all this complex scheme that should ensure transparency and security of transactions, there are still some weak spots in the chain that can be exploited.
The report said that over 82% of all cryptocurrency thefts occurred via DeFi protocols, a set of codes that facilitate financial transactions in cryptocurrencies.
Most of these attacks specifically target protocols known as cross-chain bridges, which allow transfers between different blockchains.
What is interesting about this case is that, according to the report, the majority of all digital currency thefts were carried out by hackers from North Korea.
Pyongyang has become one of the global hotspots for cybercrime, with the North Korean government behind the majority of last year’s stolen funds.
The report shows that the total value of the funds stolen by the North Korean hackers reached about 1.7 billion dollars.
Ever since 2014, when North Korean hackers breached Sony Pictures’ defenses in retaliation for the company’s film “The Interview,” which satirized leader Kim Jong-un, the country has gained notoriety as a place with serious operational cyberwarfare capabilities.
North Korea’s hacking groups are apparently built at the behest of the country’s top leadership and are known to operate as an organized unit within the Korean People’s Army.