North Korean Cybercriminals Responsible for One-Third of All Hacker Attacks in 2023

Over the past eight years, cybercriminals associated with North Korea have stolen about $3.54 billion in crypto. But this year, the damage caused by their attacks amounted to only $340.4 million, which is 80% less than in 2022. 

North Korean Hackers Stole $3.54B in Crypto Over 8 Years

According to Chainalysis, about a third of all hacker attacks in 2023 came from North Korean cybercriminals. Between 2016 and 2023, groups like Lazarus Group stole $3.54 billion in crypto, roughly 29.7% of the total amount of damage done during that period.

However, they stole 80% less cryptocurrency this year than they did in 2022. As of September 14, North Korean hacker groups in 2023 stole cryptocurrencies worth $340.4 million, while last year’s figure was at an all-time high of $1.65 billion.

Chainalysis analysts note that the decreased amount of damage from attacks doesn’t mean that the security of blockchain networks has improved. Especially considering that the year isn’t over yet and hackers continue to actively hack crypto projects. For example, in the last ten days alone, cybercriminals from Lazarus Group launched two major attacks, stealing over $95 million in crypto:

  • on September 4, $40 million was withdrawn from the Stake crypto wallet; 
  • on September 12, $55 million was stolen from the hot crypto wallets of CoinEx.

Chainalysis analysts revealed that DPRK hackers are actively using social engineering methods to launch attacks on various cryptocurrency projects. Thus, analysts recommend companies to train their employees to protect their assets.

Chainalysis also found that North Korean hackers have started to use Russian exchanges more often to launder illegal funds. For example, some of the funds stolen from Harmony Bridge in June 2022 were moved to a Russian crypto mixer. Lazarus Group laundered about $21.9 million. But crypto mixers Tornado Cash and Blender are used by hackers much more often for this purpose.

Lazarus Group was also behind the recent attack on CoinsPaid, but the company succeeded in protecting its clients’ funds and restoring the volume of transactions.

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