In 2022, North Korean hackers swiped crypto worth ten times more than the country earned from exports in 2021, according to US cybersecurity firm Recorded Future.
According to United States cybersecurity firm Recorded Future, North Korean hackers have stolen around $3 billion in cryptocurrency since 2017, with more than half of that amount stolen in the past year alone.
Recorded Future indicated in a recent report that the amount of stolen crypto equates to approximately half of North Korea’s entire military expenses for the year:
“North Korean threat actors were accused of stealing an estimated $1.7 billion worth of cryptocurrency in 2022 alone, a sum equivalent to approximately 5% of North Korea’s economy or 45% of its military budget.”
Since 2017, North Korea has significantly increased its focus on the cryptocurrency industry, stealing an estimated $3 billion worth of cryptocurrency. pic.twitter.com/cES9gq2AK3
— Recorded Future (@RecordedFuture) November 30, 2023
Furthermore, the stolen amount surpasses the total annual income from exports for the nation by a considerable margin.
“This amount is also almost 10 times more than the value of North Korea’s exports in 2021, which sat at $182 million,” the report stated.
Meanwhile, it explained that North Korean hackers initially targeted South Korea for its crypto, before expanding their focus to the rest of the world:
“North Korean cyber operators shifted their targeting from traditional finance to this new digital financial technology by first targeting the South Korean cryptocurrency market before significantly expanding their reach globally.”
It was noted that support from the North Korean government has led to a significant expansion in the scale of the illicit operation.