The North Korean government is said to sponsor hackers to steal digital assets and fund its military operations, with on-chain analysis suggesting they have siphoned over $2 billion since 2018.
The Republic of Korea (South Korea) is reportedly working on a bill to track and seize digital assets stolen by hackers from North Korea. According to a local media outlet, the Korea JoongAng Daily, government sources have confirmed that the bill is in the pipeline in a bid to strengthen the country’s cybersecurity. The government officials who remained anonymous to the media outlet highlighted that the bill will include clauses to enable the National Intelligence Service (NIS) to track and neutralize digital assets stolen by North Korean hackers.
Reportedly, the new cybersecurity bill is set to introduce a national cybersecurity committee that is chaired by the president, with close assistance from the National Security Office’s chief and the NIS director.
The revelations come as the country pushes to tighten cryptocurrency regulations, especially through centralized exchanges that are licensed to operate. For instance, the country’s Virtual Asset Real-Name Account Operation Guidelines are meant to instruct cryptocurrency trading service providers to set aside a minimum of 30 percent of their daily average deposits in reserves to reduce instances of risk events.
South Korea Takes North Korea by the Horns
The North Korean hacking groups have proved to be a major stumbling block to the future mainstream adoption of digital assets. The hackers are said to use sophisticated hacking methods to compromise blockchain networks and launder the stolen funds. For instance, the hackers are said to seek employment opportunities with different DeFi protocols in a bid to gain access to the systems.
In a recent on-chain report conducted by TRM Labs, North Korean hackers are believed to have already stolen about $200 million YTD. Additionally, the report noted that the North Korean hackers have stolen more than $2 billion during the past five years. Last year, the North Korean hackers are believed to have orchestrated the Axie Infinity Ronin Bridge hack, which saw over $650 million worth of crypto stolen.
As a result, the South Korean government has teamed up with international law enforcement agencies to combat the actions of the North Korean hackers. For instance, the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has alleged that the North Korean hacking group Lazarus has been leading sophisticated phishing and cyber attacks on decentralized financial protocols. The United States has also sanctioned popular crypto mixer Tornado Cash, which is believed to be used to launder stolen digital assets by the North Korean hackers.
More countries are working to ensure the future growth of digital assets in a bid to expand their respective economies. Moreover, digital assets have been advocated for helping banks the unbanked and also provide means for hedging against high inflation.