A blockchain analytics company based in the US reported that the year before was the worst in history for cryptocurrency theft, with hackers taking as much as $3.8 billion. North Korean-linked hackers led the way, obtaining more than ever before.
The report by Chainalysis showed that hacking activity fluctuated throughout the year, with significant increases in March and October. The report also stated that October was the largest month ever for cryptocurrency hacking, with $775.7 million taken in 32 distinct incidents.
In 2022, the cryptocurrency market faced difficulties due to a decrease in risk tolerance and the failure of several crypto companies. This resulted in substantial losses for investors and increased demand for consumer protection by regulators. At the time, firms such as Chainalysis reported to Reuters that North Korean-related accounts experienced significant value loss. However, this did not discourage hackers.
According to the report, North Korea-linked hackers, such as the Lazarus Group, were the most active in the cryptocurrency hacking scene, stealing an estimated $1.7 billion through multiple attacks last year. The report stated, “in 2022, they broke their own records for theft.”
North Korea denies all accusations of hacking or other cyberattacks.
As reported by a group of experts monitoring United Nations sanctions, North Korea has increasingly relied on hacking to support its missile and nuclear weapons programs, particularly as trade has declined under sanctions and COVID-19 lockdowns.
Chainalysis stated, “it isn’t a far-fetched idea to say that cryptocurrency hacking is a significant part of the nation’s economy.”