- North Korean-linked hacking groups stole around $1 billion in crypto in 2023, down from $1.7 billion in 2022, according to Chainalysis report
- Despite conducting more attacks in 2023, improved security measures in DeFi protocols limited the total value stolen
- Chainalysis expects North Korean hackers to keep evolving tactics, targeting centralized services and using phishing and social engineering
Despite conducting more hacking attacks in 2023, North Korean-linked groups stole less cryptocurrency compared to the previous year according to blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis. The reduced illicit gains highlight improved security measures in decentralized finance (DeFi) protocols.
Chainalysis Report Shows Drop in Stolen Funds
In 2022, North Korea-linked hackers stole around $1.7 billion worth of crypto across 15 different hacking incidents. For 2023, Chainalysis estimates that the groups stole approximately $1 billion from 20 hacks. While the number of exploits increased, the total value acquired dropped significantly.
Erin Plante, Vice President of Investigations at Chainalysis, expects North Korean hacking efforts to continue evolving in sophistication and diversity. As DeFi protocols enhance security, she explained that hackers are targeting more centralized services and wallets.
Diversifying Tactics Beyond DeFi
According to Chainalysis, North Korean-linked groups relied heavily on phishing and social engineering in 2023. Plante described these methods as “age-old hacking tactics” that proper employee education and awareness could prevent. She emphasized the need for robust employee training and network monitoring.
Continued Threat Despite Reduced Gains
Plante said North Korean hackers will likely continue seeking opportunities to steal funds at scale. She stated, “Their ability to rapidly evolve as doors are closed to them continues to make them an advanced foe.” Overall, the reduced crypto haul highlights some progress but North Korea-linked groups remain a formidable threat.