North Korean Cryptocurrency Hacking Poised to Get Even Worse

Widening mainstream acceptance of cryptocurrency will intensify state-sponsored cybertheft by North Korea, potentially adding to the hereditary despotic monarchy’s billions of funds stolen through hacking, participants in a Washington think tank panel said. North Korean-controlled cybercrime groups have stolen more than $2 billion. Pyongyang has recently turned to cryptocurrency theft, including a more than $600 million heist earlier this year (see: Feds Offer $5 Million to Help Disrupt North Korean Hackers). The theft “is going to get worse. Cryptocurrency is going to become much more of an accepted means of actual payment settlement,” Nick Carlsen, a blockchain analyst at TRM Labs and a former FBI intelligence analyst. He spoke during a panel hosted by the Center for a New American Security. “When it’s no longer necessary to convert that stolen crypto even to dollars or renminbi or any other currency – that’s really the cliff that I worry about. That’s the point of no return,” he added. The United States and South Korea committed in 2021 to enhanced collaboration over cybercrime and combating ransomware through a joint working group.

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