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North Korean hackers have stolen over $1.2 billion worth of cryptocurrency in the past five years, according to South Korea’s National Intelligence Service (NIS). The NIS reported that state-sponsored hackers made off with $626 million of their total illicit cryptocurrency gains in 2022 alone, with more than $78 million coming from South Korea.
The NIS stated that North Korea’s hackers are among the best in the world, as the country has increasingly relied on cyber crimes to fund its nuclear arms program and support its struggling economy following the imposition of economic sanctions by the United Nations in 2017. The sanctions were put in place in response to North Korea’s nuclear and missile tests.
The NIS’s report comes as high-ranking officials from the United States, South Korea, and Japan have agreed to take more action to prevent North Korean cybercrime. The country’s economy has been further impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and the imposition of some of the toughest restrictions on exports, including coal, textiles, and seafood.
The increasing use of cryptocurrency as a tool for North Korean hacking highlights the need for individuals and organizations to take appropriate security measures to protect their digital assets. It is crucial to use strong passwords and two-factor authentication, as well as to regularly update software and be wary of phishing attempts.