North Korean Crypto Hacks Don’t Appear to Be Slowing Down

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North Korean hackers are intensifying their campaign against crypto, with industry sleuths blaming the rogue state for hacks of more than $290 million.

On August 1, investigators ZachXBT and Tayvano claimed Lazarus Group, the notorious hackers backed by the North Korean government, had been observed transferring about $8.5 million across three different blockchain networks. Alphapo, CoinsPaid, Atomic Wallet, and Harmony suffered hacks—with the total amount of stolen funds estimated at $290 million.

Lazarus Group: The World’s Most Prolific Crypto Hackers

Source: X / ZachXBT

Analysts believe that the hacking group is currently consolidating its funds in order to launder money. The group recently split 4600 ETH into 125 new Ethereum addresses within a five-hour period. The stolen funds were then moved to the Avalanche blockchain and converted into Bitcoin.

Currently, Lazarus reportedly controls 125 Bitcoin addresses holding a total of 290 BTC. Each wallet contains between one and three BTC.

On July 22, CoinsPaid suffered a $37.3 million hack. On July 26, the firm revealed it suspected the Lazarus Group thanks to patterns in on-chain behavior.

Source: Chainalysis

North Korean Hackers Hit a Russian Missile Manufacturer

The bad actors haven’t just been hitting blockchain targets, either. According to an August 7 report from Reuters, an elite group of North Korean hackers managed to break into a major Russian missile developer for at least five months last year.

Lazarus and ScarCruft—the names given to two groups identified in the cyberespionage—secretly installed backdoors into systems at NPO Mashinostroyeniya, a rocket maker based in Reutov, a small town just outside Moscow.

Strangely enough, Sergei Shoigu, the much-maligned Russian defense minister, was pictured visiting North Korea on July 27. The military chief appeared in the country for the 70th anniversary of the Korean War. A conflict that left the world with the modern rival nations of North and South Korea.

It’s no surprise the isolated rogue state would target a missile manufacturer. The hermit kingdom has long dreamed of possessing its own nuclear arsenal with its own working set of intercontinental ballistic missiles (IBM).

It’s estimated a huge share of its foreign currency income—including through hacks—goes toward that goal.

North Korea Allegedly Took up to $1.7 Billion in Crypto in 2022

Last month, South Korea’s National Intelligence Service (NIS) confirmed that North Korean hackers had stolen $700 million worth of cryptocurrency in 2022. The same NIS officer behind the revelations believes its cyber-espionage accounts for 30% of its foreign currency income. Or enough to launch 30 intercontinental ballistic missiles.

However, not everyone agrees on the numbers, with some believing they’re even worse. Blockchain analysis firm Chainalysis reported that North Korean hackers took $1.7 billion (£1.4 billion) in cryptocurrency in 2022. A number four times higher than the nation’s previous record of $429 million in crypto theft in 2021.

The stolen funds constituted 44% of the total $3.8 billion stolen in cryptocurrency hacks that year. 


In adherence to the Trust Project guidelines, BeInCrypto is committed to unbiased, transparent reporting. This news article aims to provide accurate, timely information. However, readers are advised to verify facts independently and consult with a professional before making any decisions based on this content.

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