North Korea is a notorious name among the crypto community. The country is known for initiating large-scale crypto hacks. According to a study by a UK-based compliance specialist, it has been found that North Korean hackers target mostly Japan. Since 2017, North Korea has stolen around $721 million worth of cryptocurrency from Japan resulting in around 30% of the crypto losses of that type that has happened worldwide.
North Korea Funding Missiles Through Crypto
Japan is not the only country under the radar of North Korea. The crypto assets of many other countries have also been targeted by North Korea. All the funding received through such illicit activity is used for missile programmes.
Many other countries have come forward to counter this issue. Central bank governors and finance ministers of various countries have decided to take a serious step. The theft of cryptocurrency and North Korea’s repeated missile launches in mind may disrupt international peace.
According to Elliptic, North Korea has two strategies to steal cryptocurrency: hacking and ransomware. The majority of the theft happens by the hacking medium where the cryptocurrency is directly stolen from the exchange.
Japan: The Biggest Victim
North Korea is mostly focused on direct hacks as it gives them a large chunk of crypto assets if the hack succeeds. Japan is the largest victim followed by Vietnam and Hong Kong. The total cryptocurrency stolen from Japan is $721 million which is 8.8X the total export value of North Korea in 2021.
Japan’s government fears that if missiles are being developed using this stolen fund, there may be serious repercussions. Hence, the Japanese government has amended its Payment Services Act to bring a stricter approach and other countries are following a similar step.