Hackers from North Korea stole nearly $400 million worth of cryptocurrency in 2021 through at least seven attacks and most of it was Ether or ETH rather than Bitcoin, according to blockchain analysis firm, Cainalysis.
2021 was a record year for North Korea’s military hackers, the most notorious of which is Lazarus, the group behind the destructive wiper attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment in 2014, WannaCry ransomware in 2017, multiple banks via the SWIFT banking system, and numerous cryptocurrency exchanges.
Also known as APT 38, the group has focused in on cryptocurrency theft as a prime vehicle for raising revenue for the country and evading US and UN economic sanctions. A UN Panel of experts in 2018 concluded that its cryptocurrency hacks contribute to North Korea’s ballistic missile programs.
The group employs common tactics used by other nation-state hacking groups and cybercriminals, including social engineering, phishing and software exploits.
“From 2020 to 2021, the number of North Korean-linked hacks jumped from four to seven, and the value extracted from these hacks grew by 40%,” Chainalysis said in its report.
Attacks from North Korean hackers in