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North Korea-backed hackers have stolen $1.2 billion of virtual goods: Report | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #hacker

South Korea’s spy agency and cybersecurity experts have recently accused cybercriminals working for the North Korean government of stealing virtual assets worth 1.5 trillion won ($1.2 billion) in the past three years. According to a report by The Independent, the South Korean spy agency National Intelligence Service (NIS) has claimed that these cyber attacks have recently increased and a huge chunk of the mentioned amount was stolen in 2022. NIS has also said that the state-sponsored North Korean hackers have been stealing the mentioned amount in virtual assets around the world since 2017. Among this, assets worth 800 billion won ($626 million) were stolen in 2022. The report also stated that digital assets worth more than 100 billion won ($78 million) for the total amount came from South Korea.
Why North Korea has turned to non-ethical hacking
As per the report, South Korean officials have said that the harsh UN sanctions and the COVID-19 pandemic have forced North Korea to get involved in crypto hacking and other illicit cyber activities. The South Korean experts also added that these illegal cyber activities are a source of foreign currency that North Korea needs badly to support its “fragile economy”. The spy agency also mentioned that the Kim Jong-un-led nation also needed foreign money to fund its nuclear program.
NIS has also claimed that North Korea started focusing on cybercrimes since the UN economic sanctions were toughened in 2017 in response to its nuclear and missile tests. The spy agency also suggested that North Korea’s capacity to steal digital assets is considered to be among the best in the world.

In 2016-17, the UN sanctions imposed a ban on key North Korean exports such as coal, textiles and seafood. The inter-governmental organisation also directed member states to send back North Korean overseas workers. The country’s economy suffered further setbacks after it imposed some of the world’s most bizarre restrictions during the pandemic.
The spy agency has also reportedly warned the world that North Korean hackers are expected to conduct more cyberattacks in 2023. NIS is concerned that these state-backed hackers will try to steal advanced South Korean technologies and secret information about the country’s foreign policies and national security.
Senior diplomats from the US, South Korea and Japan have recently agreed to ramp up their efforts to curb illegal North Korean cyber activities. Moreover, a panel of UN experts also claimed that North Korea has continued stealing billions of dollars from financial institutions and cryptocurrency firms and exchanges in February.
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