North Korea sets new record in 2022 with $630M stolen in digital assets, UN says – CryptoNewsTo

North Korea sets new record in 2022 with $630M stolen in digital assets, UN says

Despite the bear market, North Korea set a record in 2022, stealing over $600 million worth of digital assets, a new report by the United Nations (U.N.) says.

The report found that North Korea continues to rely on hackers linked to the Reconnaissance General Bureau, the country’s primary intelligence agency. These hacking groups, including the infamous Lazarus Group, target victims globally with malware and demand ransom for digital assets.

“A higher value of cryptocurrency assets was stolen by DPRK actors in 2022 than in any previous year,” according to the U.N. report, seen by Reuters.

The report, which was set to be released publicly in a few weeks, was compiled by independent sanctions monitors and submitted to the 15-member UN Security Council’s North Korea sanctions committee.

It says North Korea stole $630 million in 2022, in line with South Korea’s estimate last December. This is a conservative estimate, with New York-based Chainalysis claiming earlier this month that this figure stands at a staggering $1.7 billion. The bulk of this was from DeFi exploits, the blockchain analytics company revealed.

U.N.’s report acknowledged that there might be variations in the estimates, but one thing is undisputed—2022 was North Korea’s most destructive year yet.

“The variation in USD value of cryptocurrency in recent months is likely to have affected these estimates, but both show that 2022 was a record-breaking year for DPRK (North Korea) virtual asset theft,” it stated.

North Korea’s Reconnaissance General Bureau continues to be blamed for coordinating the country’s hacking efforts. The bureau is said to offer protection and resources to Lazarus Group, Kimsuky, Andariel, and other renowned hacking collectives.

“These actors continued illicitly to target victims to generate revenue and solicit information of value to the DPRK including its weapons programmes,” according to the report.

With the U.N. and most leading economies issuing dozens of sanctions against the country, President Kim Jong-un has allegedly turned to hacking to finance his missile program. According to the U.S. government, this includes the record-setting Axie Infinity hack in which hackers made off with $615 million.

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