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$272 Million in Ethereum Stolen by North Korean Hackers in 2021

Thu, 01/13/2022 - 15:55
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Alex Dovbnya
Ethereum has become new darling of North Korean hackers
$272 Million in Ethereum Stolen by North Korean Hackers in 2021
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Blockchain sleuth Chainalysis has estimated that hackers from North Korea pilfered $395 million worth of cryptocurrencies last year by conducting seven successful security breaches, Wired reports.

Notably, Ethereum accounted for 58% of the sum ($272 million). Bitcoin, the leading cryptocurrency, only represents a fifth of the $400 million figure. The share of Ethereum-based tokens stands at 11%.

The total amount of crypto stolen by the Hermit Kingdom has now eclipsed $1.5 billion, according to Chainalysis data.

Being one of the most heavily sanctioned countries in the world, North Korea is a pariah on the global economic stage.

Close ties with China, which purchases 90% of North Korea's goods, help to keep the floundering economy going, but the communist state also engages in various criminal activities. After drug trafficking and counterfeiting, cybercrime has emerged as a new source of revenue for the rogue communist state, with cryptocurrency exchanges being lucrative targets for North Korea's military hacking units.

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The tyrannical Kim Jong Un regime relies on its hackers to fund the development of sophisticated ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons.

In 2018, North Korean hackers pilfered $522 million, which remains its biggest yearly haul to date.

The notorious Lazarus hacking group, which pulled off a large-scale breach of Sony Pictures in 2014, was responsible for robbing Singapore-based cryptocurrency exchange KuCoin of $275 million in 2020.

North Korean hackers deploy complicated techniques to launder stolen money.

Last September, Ethereum developer Virgil Griffith pleaded guilty to helping North Korea circumvent U.S. sanctions.

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About the author

Alex Dovbnya (aka AlexMorris) is a cryptocurrency expert, trader and journalist with extensive experience of covering everything related to the burgeoning industry — from price analysis to Blockchain disruption. Alex authored more than 1,000 stories for U.Today, CryptoComes and other fintech media outlets. He’s particularly interested in regulatory trends around the globe that are shaping the future of digital assets, can be contacted at