An undisclosed White House official has revealed that North Korea has funded 50% of its missile tests through cyberattacks and crypto theft.
According to a recent Chainalysis report, North Korean hackers have stolen $1.7 billion in digital assets in 2022 alone. The Lazarus Group, the most infamous hacking collective in the area, was responsible for several exploits, with the most widely known being the $625 million breach on Ronin Network.
North Korean Hackers Pose a Threat
Over the past few years, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea has been growing as a military power and is one of the few countries in the world that possesses nuclear weapons. The government, led by Kim Jong Un, continually upgrades its weapons by conducting missile programs and tests.
Anne Neuberger, the Deputy National Security Adviser for cyber and emerging technology, recently revealed that a significant portion of North Korea’s war efforts are being funded by cyberspace. The Biden cabinet is trying to understand how a country like North Korea, which is known for its hacking activity, is so creative in this space.
Furthermore, US intelligence agencies are working to identify the individuals involved and trace the funds that have been stolen.
The United Nations has also accused North Korea of financing its missile and nuclear programs using cryptocurrency theft.
Despite these accusations and threats from the Western world, North Korea remains focused on war-related efforts. The country’s authorities stated a month ago that they had tested the most powerful missile to date. Experts warn that the new weapon could strike other nations, including the US, faster and with greater force.
Kim Jong Un, who supervised the test, declared that the experiment would make rivals «suffer from extreme fear and anxiety.»
Making Headlines in 2021
Stealing cryptocurrencies via high-level hacks is a trademark move of North Korean cybercriminals. According to blockchain data platform Chainalysis, these hackers stole $1.7 billion worth of digital assets in several attacks in 2022.
The Lazarus Group, a notorious hacking group supposedly linked to the local government, was responsible for some of the most significant exploits last year. For example, the FBI claimed the group was behind the massive $625 million Ronin Network attack.
MistTrack, a compliance platform, disclosed earlier this year that the Lazarus Group stole $100 million from the cryptocurrency protocol Harmony. Prior to that, Elliptic Enterprise suggested the same.