North Korea is well known for funding itself through cybercrime. The Bank of (South) Korea located in Seoul estimates around 8% of North Korea’s economy can be attributed to cybercrime, a statistic more fitting to organised crime than a nation. Even its cryptocurrency attacks have previously made headlines with the US attempting to sue the owners of 280 accounts supposedly linked to a hack that took place in 2020 resulting in losses of around $2.5 million.
Now in 2022, a report has been submitted to the UN stating cyber criminals contracted by the North Korean government have stolen upwards of $50 million over the past two years. With that said, previous estimates from the Chainanalysis and the UN have put this number in the $300-$400 million range. Either way, it’s clear these targeted attacks are a problem as they’re seemingly getting more prevalent and fierce. The report submitted to the UN also claimed that stolen cybercrime and cryptocurrency is being used to fund missile development.
With North Korea previously banned from conducting nuclear and missile tests and continuing regardless, it seems they’re unlikely to stop flexing their muscles anytime soon.
In early 2021 Google stated that government-backed North Korean hackers, the Lazarus Group, set up a blog dedicated to teaching people how to hack to scam other cybercriminals. Even going as far as infecting Google Chrome and Windows.
Anyone in Britain is likely to remember the 2017 WannaCry ransomware attack that notoriously infected the computers of National Health Service staff costing the NHS $124.5 million.
How to Protect Your Crypto
Unfortunately, there’s no sure-fire way to 100% protect yourself as ultimately you’re reliant on your exchange of choice having good security. However, there are a few ways you can minimize the chance of anyone getting their hands on your crypto.
- Strong Password – While this may sound obvious to some, it’s commonly overlooked, and having a strong password is especially important on a platform with so much sensitive information. It’s recommended to use at least 10 characters when making a password with no common words and using a mixture of capitals, numbers, and special characters like exclamation points and question marks. This drastically reduces the efficacy of brute force attacks. Additionally, You should never use the same password on multiple exchanges as doing so can compromise multiple accounts, compounding losses.
- 2FA – In addition to a strong password it’s crucial that you use 2FA on every crypto exchange you use. This adds another layer of protection vs just having a password. While many people choose to use phone 2FA, this is unsafe as social engineers are able to mimic your phone number and call your network provider to get messages rerouted. We’ve got an article explaining this further.