In a delightful display of whataboutism, Pyongyang has dubbed the United States a “hacking empire and country of intelligence theft” after it was claimed that North Korean hackers stole $400 million in crypto last year.
Blockchain analytics unit Chainalysis reported North Korean cyber-crooks carried out at least seven attacks on crypto organisations in 2021, predominantly centralised exchanges and crypto investment firms.
This is a 40 percent increase on 2020 and sustains a long-running crypto extraction effort North Korea has launched over the past few years.
The UN has protested for years that Pyongyang exploits stolen crypto to fund military activities, especially its nuclear ambitions, and routinely quotes Chainalysis’ study.
“The United States is making a fuss from the commencement of the New Year, widely publicising our ‘cryptocurrency theft’ and ‘cyber-attack’ on other countries,” reads the statement (via Korea Herald).
“This is a ‘creation’ that could only be generated by the US hardened to the marrow with the persistent repugnance against our country.”
The ministry referenced Edward Snowden’s statement, in which he stated that the United States was the first government to conduct an international cyberattack.
To cripple Iran’s uranium enrichment facilities in 2010, the United States used the first cyberweapon, Stuxnet.
North Korea’s statement, translated by the Korea Herald, refers to the United States as a “state of the world’s gravest cybercrimes” with a history of “abusing the cyberspace” and “pursuing its hegemony” in a statement obtained on its foreign ministry website.
To ruin our state’s reputation and challenge our sovereignty, the American disgusting activities of publicising the sophistry of our ‘cyber-attack’ and ‘cryptocurrency theft’ are planned, and therefore, we will never overlook these acts.”
After referencing “Russian specialists” and the American tabloid Newsweek, the statement attempted to divert criticism by listing a series of claimed hacks that the United States was involved in.
As a result of its lucrative government contracts, Chainalysis, which publishes annual reports on the crypto exploits of North Korean hackers, has become a household name.
As a result, the company has cooperated with nearly every federal agency in the United States, from the Secret Service to ICE.
Pyongyang is well aware of these linkages to the US government.
Hacktivists backed by the DPRK have long preferred Bitcoin as a currency. Tokens like as ERC-20 and numerous cryptocurrencies have been the focus of recent Chainalysis research.
For the first time last year, Ether accounted for 58% of all funds taken, compared to Bitcoin’s 20%.
Disclaimer: These are the writer’s opinions and should not be considered investment advice. Readers should do their own research.