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Why Sanctions Will Have No Effects on North Korea's Crypto Hacks

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By Judy Perkins - - 5 Mins Read

An anonymous South Korean government official has claimed that the international sanctions placed on North Korea do not affect their crypto hacking campaign. North Korean hackers have been consistently hacking crypto exchanges and wallets and making away with funds. Despite the sanctions being placed on them, it has proved not to have any effect. The North Korean hacking campaign still continues, with many falling victim to the bizarre situation. 

According to the media outlet Yonhap TV News, the anonymous government official said the sanctions on North Korea remain powerless. "The scale of North Korea’s cybercrime-related activities suggests that the international community’s sanctions against North Korea are being rendered powerless," the official said. Most of the earnings the Asian country has been making comes from hacking crypto exchanges and wallets. North Korea's crypto reserve is mostly made up of illegal funds. Since most citizens don't have access to basic internet, the suspect of this act is the government, which might have hired a group of hackers to carry out the raids. 

At North Korea's crypto reserves, its foreign currency earnings in 2022 were $2.3 billion. However, about $700 million of that money came from raided crypto funds by North Korean hackers. This is not the first time North Korea has been accused of having a hand in stolen cryptocurrencies. The FBI had accused the country of having a hand in the Ronin Bridge attack. After making these accusations,  the FBI then proceeded to place sanctions on the Ethereum wallets that were linked to the attack. 

A government official from South Korea believes that there has to be a way in which North Korea has been growing its foreign earnings. Despite the restrictions enforced by the FBI and other disciplinary organizations, the Asian country has continued to record an increase in its foreign earnings. It all points down to their successful hacking business, which has left many crypto investors and exchanges defrauded of their funds. 

More North Korean Crypto Hacks on the Horizon 

Many reports show that the crypto hacks from North Korea do not show any sign of stopping at the moment. It is predicted that the North Korean hackers will launch more attacks in a bid to get more access to customers' funds. The North Korean hackers target both small and large crypto firms. They sometimes defraud users with a large amount of crypto in their wallets. And the other time, they attack crypto exchanges and make way with huge amounts of money. 

Many crypto exchanges are taking full responsibility for the situation by setting up policies that will help reduce the incidents. Many crypto exchanges have continued to block and ban any crypto wallet linked to North Korea. This is to prevent granting access to hackers from North Korea. 

Other law enforcement agencies are also making plans to close those exchanges that support the laundering of certain cryptocurrencies. These exchanges allow these hackers to steal funds and move them to their exchange. Then they send the funds to other wallets and mix them around. Exchanges that have been found guilty of supporting acts such as this have been closed down by these law enforcement agencies.