North Korean hackers steal nearly $2 billion

Korean hackers

North Korean hackers stole $1.7 billion from cryptocurrency exchanges in just a few years, sending emails with embedded malicious code to exchange employees.

The hacking attacks took place over a long period of time. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Washington, D.C., recently announced that North Korea was responsible for hacking virtual asset exchanges over the past several years, Newsis reported.

In an Oct. 13 indictment, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said: “In this forfeiture action, the U.S. government found that hackers associated with North Korea conspired with other money laundering criminals to steal virtual assets from three virtual asset exchanges and launder the proceeds.”

Hackers “worked” all over the world

Criminals stole $75 million in virtual assets from an exchange in Slovenia in 2017. Also $25 million was stolen from an Indonesian exchange in 2018 and $12 million from a financial institution in New York last year. According to the researchers, the $1.7 billion was stolen over several years.

North Korean hackers attacked Upbit, a South Korean virtual asset exchange, and stole billions of won in Ethereum, according to a 2019 UN sanctions committee panel report. Two attacks on Bithumb in 2017 stole $7 million. Other exchanges were also affected.

Notable hackers from North Korea include Park Jin Heck, Jong Chang Heck, and Kim Il. They were indicted in the States in February for trying to steal $1.3 billion from banks and businesses around the world. Caleb Alaumari, who helped them launder the money, was sentenced to 11 years and eight months in prison.

As previously reported in the media:

  • The cryptocurrency trading platform AscendEX, formerly known as BitMax, was the victim of a hacking attack that resulted in the loss of approximately $77.7 million. Users have already been promised compensation for the damage;
  • created on the basis of Fantom Opera DeFi-project Grim Finance became the victim of hackers. Experts called the cause of the incident an error in the smart contract and security flaws – they allowed attackers to withdraw $30 million in cryptocurrencies.
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Arsen Islamov
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