North Korea has always grabbed headlines — not just for its “habitual” ballistic missile firing (which irks Uncle Sam and his allies) — but also for its passion for (allegedly) stealing other countries’ crypto.
On Thursday (February 10), North Korea accused the US of stealing funds and committing backhanded cybercrimes, just days after the United Nations accused Pyongyang of conducting cyberattacks on crypto exchanges around the world.
According to North Korean officials, the US is a “hacker king, a wiretapping regime, and an expert in covert theft.”
Refuting UN Crypto Theft Claims
While not specifically citing the US, the UN monitors did claim that the information came from a “member nation” — also citing data collected by American firm Chainalysis on alleged North Korean crypto raids.
According to South Korea’s EDaily news agency, North Korea’s foreign ministry has refuted recent claims by UN monitors that North Korean hackers stole over $50 million between 2020 and mid-2021.
In a report last year, North Korea hacked $1.8 billion worth of crypto from multiple exchanges around the world.
Total crypto market cap at $1.97 trillion in the daily chart | Source: TradingView.com
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In 2020, Kommersant reported that a hacking organization called Kimsuky exploited the COVID-19 pandemic using so-called spear phishing methods to steal top-secret information from Russian defense contractors.
According to security firm Ahn Labs, Kumsuki has also been linked to an attack using malicious Microsoft Word documents.
Citing Edward Snowden’s revelations
The North Korean ministry claimed that claims of crypto theft constituted an “assault” on the country’s “sovereignty” – citing them as examples of “disgusting behavior” that the ministry would not condone.
It added that Washington is using humanity’s shared virtual terrain “to achieve its goals of hegemony.”
Pyongyang also claimed that the confessions of American former computer intelligence adviser Edward Snowden – who revealed US security agencies were spying on their own people – backed all of this.
Experts in Seoul and Washington claimed in 2019 that Pyongyang had trained a group of at least 30 “elite cyberwarriors” and directed them to use ruthless abandon to infiltrate Western and Western-allied crypto targets.
Meanwhile, Pyongyang is said not to be content with storing its crypto stash indefinitely, with South Korean experts claiming that the last obstacle facing North Korean hackers is selling their stolen crypto assets.
Related Reading | Hackers steal $4.4 million in attack on DeFi infrastructure provider
Image from Shutterstock, chart from TradingView.com