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Theft of crypto: In 2022, hackers tied to North Korea stole $1.7 billion

Cryptocurrency theft has been on the rise and the latest numbers show that the amount stolen this year so far is greater than the entire amount of money taken in 2020. According to a report by cybersecurity firm Recorded Future, North Korea-linked hackers are responsible for much of this surge in crypto theft, having stolen at least $1.7 billion since early 2021. In this article, we will take a closer look at how North Korean hackers were able to steal such large amounts of cryptocurrency and what steps can be taken to combat future thefts. We’ll also discuss the implications these attacks have for international diplomacy and cybersecurity efforts worldwide.

North Korea’s Link to Crypto Theft

In recent years, North Korea has been linked to a number of high-profile crypto thefts. In 2018, a North Korea-linked hacking group was responsible for stealing $532 million from Japanese crypto exchange Coincheck. And in 2019, North Korea was again linked to the theft of $267 million from another Japanese crypto exchange, BitPoint.

These incidents highlight the growing threat that North Korea poses to the global crypto industry. And it’s not just exchanges that are at risk – North Korea has also been linked to the theft of user funds from individual wallets.

So why is North Korea turning to crypto theft? There are a few possible reasons.

First, crypto exchanges are an attractive target for hackers because they typically hold large amounts of cryptocurrencies. This makes them a prime target for thieves looking to score a big payday.

Second, North Korea is under heavy economic sanctions from the international community. These sanctions have severely limited the country’s access to traditional financial systems, making it difficult for North Korea to obtain foreign currency. Crypto theft provides a way for North Korea to circumvent these sanctions and obtain the foreign currency it needs.

Finally, cryptocurrency is relatively anonymous, making it difficult for authorities to trace stolen funds back to North Korea. This makes it an ideal tool for money laundering and other illicit activities.

With all this in mind, it’s clear that North Korea poses a serious threat to the global cryptocurrency industry. Exchanges and individual users alike

What Can Be Done to Prevent This in the Future?

1. Improve security protocols: One way to prevent future crypto theft is to improve security protocols surrounding cryptocurrency exchanges and wallets. This could involve things like 2-factor authentication, more robust KYC/AML measures, and better internal controls.

2. Educate users: Another way to help prevent crypto theft is to educate users on best practices for keeping their digital assets safe. This could involve creating educational materials on topics like secure storage, private key management, and recognizing phishing scams.

3. Increase regulation: Some experts believe that increasing regulation around the cryptocurrency industry could help to prevent future thefts. This could involve things like mandating certain security measures for exchanges or implementing stricter Know Your Customer (KYC) requirements.

4. Improve law enforcement response: Finally, another way to help prevent future crypto theft is to improve the law enforcement response to such incidents. This could involve working with international partners to track down and prosecute hackers, as well as developing better tools and methods for investigating these types of crimes.


Crypto theft has become an increasingly common occurrence in recent years due to the anonymity of cryptocurrency transactions. North Korea-linked hackers have been particularly active, stealing $1.7 billion USD worth of cryptocurrency throughout 2022 alone. It is essential that those who are interested in trading or investing in cryptocurrencies take extra security measures to ensure their funds are protected from malicious actors online. With awareness and diligence, we can all help protect ourselves from crypto theft and keep our money safe.

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