There has been a lot going on with Bitcoin and Ethereum and the crypto space in general. With that, North Korean hackers have been feeding on the increasingly popular crypto economy.

North Korean Hackers Stole $395 Million in 2021

According to the story by Wired, North Korean hackers stole a massive $395 million in a total of crypto throughout 2021 across seven intrusions, including investment firms and exchanges, as per Chainalysis' findings.

This number represents about a $100 million increase compared to the year before bringing the total amount stolen by North Korean hacker groups to $1.5 billion in crypto throughout five years. To add, this doesn't include unaccounted for hundreds of millions that were stolen from traditional financial systems.

Department of Justice Announced Multiple Malicious Crypto Apps Deployed

As per a senior director of investigations at Chainalysis, the hackers have successfully called 2021 a "banner year" for the North Korean crypto thieves.The findings showed that global serial robberies by North Korea's groups have accelerated despite the midst of a law enforcement crackdown.

In February of 2021, North Korean hackers were charged with a massive scheme to steal cryptocurrency. The Department of Justice announced that multiple malicious crypto applications were deployed, as reported by CNBC.

North Korean Hackers Stole a Total of $522 Million in Crypto Back in 2018

The growth of the stolen funds reportedly also tracks with the number of thefts in 2021, namely the seven breaches that Chainalysis tracked last year, amounting to three more compared to 2020. The most amount of hacks in a year carried out by North Korean hackers were in 2018 when they stole a record $522 million with a series of 10 attacks.

Ever since Chainalysis started tracking the series of North Korean crypto thefts, Bitcoin no longer represents anywhere close to the majority of the country's total take while accounting for just 20% of the funds that were stolen.

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The Hackers Targeted Ethereum and Other ERC-20 Tokens

Fully 58% of the group's total crypto gains came instead in stolen Ethereum. Another 11%, which totals around $40 million, came from other stolen ERC-20 tokens existing within the Ethereum blockchain.

Plante from Chainalysis attributes this significantly increased focus on certain Ethereum-based cryptocurrencies to the massive skyrocketing price of the asset within the Ethereum economy, which was also combined with the nascent companies that have been fostered with its growth. The total amount of thefts within the Ethereum blockchain jumped from $161 million in 2020 to $272 million in 2021.

She states that a number of the exchanges and trading platforms are newer and potentially more vulnerable to the type of executed intrusions. Additionally, Ponte stated that they're trading heavily on Ether and other ERC-20 tokens, making them easier targets.

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Written by Urian B.

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