North Korea Hackers Steal Crypto Millions for Nukes

Many nuclear missiles with North Korean flag. 3D rendered illustration.

( – North Korea’s number one desire appears to be to create a military that isn’t laughed at by other nations. In his desperate pursuit of military might, Kim Jong-un has made it clear that he wants nuclear weapons. A new report indicates a hacker group stole millions for an allegedly nefarious reason.

From January to August 18, North Korean hackers allegedly stole $200 million in crypto. The firm TRM Labs issued a report about the stolen currency on August 18. Worse, in the last five years, the hackers have stolen more than $2 billion in over 30 attacks. Some estimates put it at $3 billion.

The firm found that in 2023, the number of hacking incidents will be down. However, North Korea is still focusing on the crypto arena. This year, roughly 20% of the hacks have been carried out by people in the authoritarian nation, where nothing is done without Kim Jong-un’s permission.

TRM Labs explained that North Korea uses many methods to steal from people in the crypto arena, including supply chain and phishing attacks.

The report comes months after TRM Labs had a discussion with experts on North Korea, pointing out that the hackers’ attacks coincide with the nation’s “nuclear and ballistic missile programs.” The country, which has suffered greatly from US and United Nations sanctions, appears to be moving away from traditional ways to generate revenue to fund its programs. The sanctions against North Korea have targeted anything that could create revenue for the nation, including bans on its financial services, arms, metals, and minerals. Instead, it’s “increasingly turning to cyber attacks to fund its weapons proliferation activity,” the firm warned.

In August, the FBI warned crypto companies that North Korean hackers were planning to cash out Bitcoin worth north of $40 million. The cryptocurrency was stolen in several different heists. According to TRM, the country is continuing to “evolve their targets, techniques, and money laundering patterns” in an attempt to continue their activity.

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