back to article North Korea pulled in $400m in cryptocurrency heists last year – report

Thieves operating for the North Korean government made off with almost $400m in digicash last year in a concerted attack to steal and launder as much currency as they could. A report from blockchain biz Chainalysis found that attackers were going after investment houses and currency exchanges in a bid to purloin funds and send …

  1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

    Further to the North Korea story:

    $240m (IIRC) of that $400m is apparently still sitting parked, not yet monetised.

    The theory is that they're waiting for law enforcement's alertness to drop, playing the long game to maximise the net amount brought home safely.

    1. Clausewitz 4.0

      Re: Further to the North Korea story:

      I must say NSA/FBI/CIA are a bit persistent.

      One could think they use even mind-reading microchips to go after some folks.

      20+ years programming, 9+ assassination attempts, patience is a virtue.

      1. pavel.petrman Silver badge

        Re: Further to the North Korea story:

        Hello Mr. McAfee, nice to have you here.

        1. Clausewitz 4.0

          Re: Further to the North Korea story:

          McAfee was in the antivirus business. I am a system integrator ( also eletronics ), exploits and software implants developer.

          1. Allan George Dyer Silver badge

            Re: Further to the North Korea story:

            @Clausewitz 4.0 - "McAfee was in the antivirus business"

            I think pavel.petrman was referring to McAfee's fame in the paranoid-batshit-crazy business, rather than his brief, early stint in the antivirus business.

            "exploits and software implants developer" - somehow, I read that as "explosive software implants developer", it seems appropriate.

            1. Clausewitz 4.0

              Re: Further to the North Korea story:

              Some of my code may be grayish-black.

    2. AndersH

      Re: Further to the North Korea story:

      Probably waiting for gas fees to drop. Microtransactions on Ethereum??!

  2. ThatOne Silver badge


    > The Russians are targeting US government, energy and infrastructure companies [...], and are using advanced tactics to do so

    The rascals! Instead of using simplistic tactics so our under-trained and underpaid wage slaves can fend them off with a broom...

  3. Snowy Silver badge


    Cryptocurrencies so untraceable and anonymous but Chainalysis are so good they can track and find out who did it and where the funds went. Even when they used a mixer not once but multiple times.

    1. Clausewitz 4.0

      Re: cryptocurrency


      If properly done, it is untraceable.

      Owning an exchange may help.

    2. RegGuy1 Silver badge

      Re: cryptocurrency

      Yes indeed. And I thought the North Koreans were starving and so had other things on their minds. How do the find the time to train these people? Still better these foreigners doing it, coz if it was in the UK you just know it would be the remoaners' fault.

      1. Clausewitz 4.0

        Re: cryptocurrency

        Thinking of the North Koreans, I doubt they would decrypt sensitive information, even if starving, with too much cameras or tooth-microchips not removed.

        Dreams are not good. Reality is better.

      2. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
        Big Brother

        Re: cryptocurrency

        Mainly by sifting through the school kids , finding the bright ones who can be trained up, then saying to them :

        "Help Kim el loony get money , you and your family get to live in the capital (nicest place in N.Korea), if you dont want to help, you and your family can help Kim el loony by digging coal in forced labour camp"

      3. doublelayer Silver badge

        Re: cryptocurrency

        "And I thought the North Koreans were starving and so had other things on their minds. How do the find the time to train these people?"

        Take a look at why they're starving. It's because all the money goes into government and military investments instead of public services. The things that get investment are the leaders' personal comfort, a lot of troops to stand around the southern border in case it's time to invade, a lot of troops to stand around elsewhere in case someone needs quick imprisonment, nuclear weapons, and stuff that makes more money for those things listed above. Ways to make more money include manufacture of illegal things (counterfeit money is one of their specialties), weapons systems for sale and internal use, and cybercrime. In other words, they are starving because the resources that could help are being spent on training these people. Entirely consistent.

        1. Clausewitz 4.0

          Re: cryptocurrency

          They are starving because of sanctions.

          But USA is also broken with TRILLION of DEBT. Only fictiously inflated like triple-A housing bonds of 2008.

    3. Aitor 1 Silver badge

      Re: cryptocurrency

      Crypto is in general the opposite of untraceable. The ledger is public.. that is the whole purpose!

      what you don't know is who is who.. unless you do some analysis.

    4. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells Silver badge

      Re: cryptocurrency

      Mixers ( aka tumblers) are considered broken.

      Bitcoin isn't anonymous. Monero, Zcash, etc are.

      1. Clausewitz 4.0

        Re: cryptocurrency

        I agree mixers with non-anonymous crypto are not failproof.

        But, again, there are ways to make blockchain analysis innefective.

        Owning a crypto exchange is one of the steps.

  4. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    Texans pay for parking ?

    I assumed they just tied their F150s to the hitching rail and mosyed into McDs

    Actually I didn't think they ever got out of their trucks. I'm picturing remote work just being everybody sitting in their truck in the parking lot

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      With the engine running and aircon/heating (following outside temperature) on.

  5. Ian Johnston Silver badge

    On the upside, the North Korean regime is probably the nicest group in the world to have its paws on cryptocurrencies.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Let me get this right..

    .. that's $400M mainly stolen from criminals and the easily deluded, right?

    The problem with world's smaller violin is that it's a b*gger to find.

    1. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: Let me get this right..

      And from central banks. They like stealing the monetary reserves of countries and convert it into something more easily kept away from others. A lot of it is in cash, but some is converted into cryptocurrency. They've also launched smaller robberies from personal accounts as well, though they're not as big, so less often done and much less often reported. But why let reality interfere with your attempt to insult all victims of a crime and cryptocurrency in one easy sentence?

  7. _LC_ Silver badge

    Paid by your taxes

    Report: People who make those stories up are paid by you, with your taxes.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Human error my arse

    Quote "Utilizing threats and other 'social engineering' methods, individuals acting maliciously were able to exploit human error within our customer experience team and bypass two-factor authentication to gain access to player accounts."

    "Human error"? I think you mean fuckwits who click on anything. And please tell. Just what is a "customer experience team"?

    My customer experience tells me that it is just more management bollocks for lack of security. Can't spend money on security can we? Take away managements bonus money? Unthinkable...

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Quantum prediction...

    It's not a big leap to realize that a state actor like the NSA is going to be the first to crack crypto with Quantum computing.

    It's also not hard to imagine what kind of chaos undermining bitcoin would cause at this point.

    Estimates range as high as 40% of Bitcoin wallets are parked/inaccessible; which creates an artificial bottom price because literally it can never be completely panic sold, there always appear to be a solid bottom...

    What if... a state actor were to gain access to all those parked wallets and suddenly try to dump them?

    China could use the chaos to try to push it's own Yuan as the new stable reserve Currency...

    The US might do it to make the dollar appear stronger than any alternative...

    Russia would do it to sow Chaos...

    Iran/N. Korea might do it for a fast buck that dodges sanctions...

    Israel would be attacking Iran's crypto mining sector...

    This story is likely just the tip of the iceberg in terms of state manipulation of cryptocurrency.

  10. Grunchy Bronze badge

    Somebody should make it illegal for North Koreans to go online.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Math is hard

    "Bitcoin accounted for just 20 per cent, a fall of more than 50 per cent since 2019"

    Do you mean it fell from 40% to 20%, which would be a fall of 50%? Or did you mean it fell from 70% to 20%, a fall of 50 *points*? From the context I think you mean the latter, but clarity would be nice.

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