North Korea is hit by heavy international sanctions because of its nuclear program. Suddenly, the country becomes particularly gifted to find new resources in the greatest illegality. The elite team of North Korean hackers, known as the Lazarus Group, have managed to steal more than 350 million euros in cryptocurrencies in 2021.
According to a report by Chainalays “Between 2020 and 2021, the number of hacks attributed to North Korea increased from four to seven and the value extracted from these attacks grew by 40%”. The target of choice for North Korean hackers are mainly large investment firms and centralized exchanges.
North Korea continues to fund its military program illegally
The elite unit literally siphoned off the crypto-assets these firms held in internet-connected wallets – through a combination of phishing attempts, exploiting security vulnerabilities, installing malware and particularly advanced engineering techniques social.
They then washed this money through a series of millions of transfers via programs called “mixers” with the aim of covering their tracks. Even if it was generally possible to go back to the communist dictatorship. The stolen loot was 58% composed of Ethers, 20% of Bitcoin and 22% of various tokens and altcoin.
According to the same report, which is based on statements by the UN Security Council, the stolen funds will be used directly to finance the armament program. However, the population of the country is in the grip of deep difficulties at the moment. The total closure of the country as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic has reduced trade with China.
And therefore the country’s supply of certain essential products. Kim Jong-Un himself no longer hesitates to mention the food supply difficulties himself, at the risk of reminding North Koreans of the terrible famine that hit the country between 1994 and 1998. There are only a few days, North Korea was testing a hypersonic missile.
A formidable technologically very avant-garde weapon on which the United States and its allies have been working for years. Before North Korea, only Russia had demonstrated such a weapon. It is therefore both surprising and disturbing that the country has such options in its arsenal. The communist dictatorship’s military agenda is gobbling up astronomical sums – and the regime is unlikely to redirect stolen funds into crypto in 2021 to stem the looming food crisis.
Source From: Presse-Citron