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North Korea caught laundering $147.5 million in stolen cryptocurrencies: UN report

North Korea is believed to have conducted 97 cyberattacks on cryptocurrency entities, amassing approximately $3.6 billion.

North Korea suspected of $147.5M crypto funneling.

According to a United Nations report, North Korea is suspected of funneling $147.5 million, allegedly stolen from a cryptocurrency exchange, through the digital currency mixing service Tornado Cash. The incident occurred in March and is part of a larger concern about crypto being used to bypass international sanctions.

The UN’s investigation into North Korea’s cyber activities points to the laundering of the stolen funds through Tornado Cash. The money is thought to have originated from the HTX cryptocurrency exchange theft last year. The findings, derived from data provided by crypto analytics firms, highlight North Korea’s sophisticated tactics in avoiding sanctions.

From 2017 to 2024, North Korea is believed to have conducted 97 cyberattacks on cryptocurrency entities, amassing approximately $3.6 billion. In 2024 alone, the country is linked to 11 digital currency thefts totaling $54.7 million. Many of these incidents are attributed to North Korean IT professionals who gained access to crypto platforms through employment at small companies.

North Korea caught laundering $147.5 million in stolen cryptocurrencies
Image from yahoo

Tracking the Cyber Footprints

In light of Tornado Cash’s significant role in concealing illicit funds, the global community has intensified its scrutiny and measures against it. In 2022, the U.S. sanctioned Tornado Cash, labeling it a tool for money laundering by North Korean hackers. This action is part of a broader effort to urgently regulate online platforms involved in financial misconduct.

The arrest and subsequent 64-month imprisonment of Tornado Cash developer Alexey Pertsev by a Dutch court for laundering over $1.2 billion highlights the ongoing challenges and legal complexities surrounding cryptocurrency operations worldwide. This case highlights the need for stricter regulations, particularly for those posing international security risks.

You might also be interested in: Budget 2022: Virtual Digital Assets like NFTs and Cryptocurrencies will now be taxed at 30% in India, no ban

Dr. Shubhangi Jha

Avid reader, infrequent writer, evolving

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