SEOUL, Feb 1 (Reuters) – Final yr was the worst on report for cryptocurrency heists, with hackers stealing as a lot as $3.8 billion, led by attackers linked to North Korea who netted greater than ever earlier than, a U.S.-based blockchain analytics agency mentioned in a report on Wednesday.
The report by Chainalysis discovered hacking exercise that “ebbed and flowed” all year long, with “large spikes” in March and October. October was the largest single month ever for cryptocurrency hacking, with $775.7 million stolen in 32 separate assaults, the report mentioned.
The cryptocurrency market floundered in 2022, as danger urge for food diminished and numerous crypto corporations collapsed. Buyers had been left with massive losses and regulators stepped up requires extra shopper safety.
On the time, Chainalysis and different corporations confirmed to Reuters that North Korean-related accounts had lost millions of dollars in worth.
However that didn’t deter hackers.
North Korea-linked hackers resembling these within the cybercriminal syndicate Lazarus Group have been by far essentially the most prolific cryptocurrency hackers, stealing an estimated $1.7 billion value of in a number of assaults final yr, the report mentioned.
“In 2022, they shattered their very own information for theft,” it mentioned.
North Korea has denied allegations of hacking or different cyberattacks.
In line with a panel of specialists monitoring United Nations sanctions, North Korea has more and more relied on hacking to fund its missile and nuclear weapons programmes, significantly as publicly declared commerce dwindled beneath sanctions and COVID-19 lockdowns.
“It isn’t a stretch to say that cryptocurrency hacking is a large chunk of the nation’s economic system,” Chainalysis mentioned.
For the primary time final yr, U.S. legislation enforcement seized $30 million in stolen funds from North Korea-linked hackers.
“These hacks will get tougher and fewer fruitful with every passing yr,” Chainalysis predicted.
Targets in “decentralized finance” or DeFi, a thriving phase within the cryptocurrency sector, accounted for greater than 82% of the cryptocurrency stolen in 2022, the report mentioned.
DeFi functions, a lot of which run on the Ethereum blockchain, are monetary platforms that allow crypto-denominated lending exterior of conventional banks.
Final yr noticed a report quantity of crypto transactions related to illicit activity total, reaching $20.1 billion, Chainalysis mentioned in January.
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