Cryptocurrency Crime: Nearly $400M Stolen
Updated: Jan 21
Image Source: Forbes
By: Michael Argenta
January 16, 2022
Seven major attacks. Nearly $400 million in cryptocurrency stolen. A new report by blockchain analysis company Chainalysis states that North Korean hackers stole almost $400 million of crypto in 2021. In 2020, only four attacks occurred, but 40% less was taken. However, the world of cybercrime continues to adapt and destroy.
In one of the most successful years in North Korean cybercrime history, the Lazarus Group targeted large investment firms and centralized exchanges to pull off an unfathomable feat. Through phishing lures, code exploits, and malware, hackers stole this from cryptocurrency ‘hot’ wallets, which are actively connected to the internet and crypto network. A hot wallet allows owners to send, receive, and monitor their assets without extra steps. However, to prevent future theft, experts now warn cryptocurrency holders to move unneeded assets to a ‘cold’ wallet, disconnected from the internet.
In addition, it is a belief that the Lazarus Group is a division of North Korea’s primary intelligence bureau and was involved in significant cybercrimes over the past decade. From the "WannaCry" ransomware attacks and Sony Pictures cyber-attacks, the group has stolen hundreds of millions of dollars from companies, banks, and individuals. It is also noted that this money is likely being used to fund North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile program. Even an asset on a secure blockchain is no longer safe. Financial crime is not uncommon, but this significant crypto heist will raise questions among asset holders.
Although banks, companies, and major Hollywood studios were the only ones affected in these seven attacks, cryptocurrency investors should not brush this off. While major cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum are highly protected, the world of cybercrime continues to evolve. Therefore, the cybersecurity of this still new investment needs to be reassessed.