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Repatriation of N. Korean Workers Urged Amid Crypto Exploits

Repatriation of N. Korean Workers Urged Amid Crypto Exploits

Citing North Korea’s “unlawful weapons programme” and “malicious cyber activities” Seoul, Washington, and Tokyo reiterated the 2017 UN resolution to send back North Koreans working abroad. This call was first reported by AFP.

This initial resolution had set the goal for completion by 2019, but has since been progressing slower than expected. A January report from the Council on Foreign Relations indicated that North Korean hackers account for a third of all crypto losses, particularly those in relation to DeFi exploits.

The reports revealed how North Korean hackers were using decentralized finance (DeFi) to hide their illicit activity, with the supposed tangent of funding nuclear activities through these means. It has been estimated that up to $1 billion has been stolen by North Korean hackers in the past two years.

The U.S. government has taken steps to address the threat by, of course, imposing additional sanctions on the country as well as entities linked to the cryptocurrency thefts. One might recall the debacle with Tornado just last year where the crypto mixer was sanctioned and one of its developers arrested. Tornado, along with, another mixer, were sanctioned for their role in facilitating money laundering schemes conducted by North Korean hacker groups.

There remains some contention amid all this, though: the U.S. regulatory climate. As the White House released a new economic report for 2023 which contained two sections on crypto (crypto as a tech stack, and CBDC prospects), several crypto firms have been reeling from the effects of tighter regulatory oversight.


The Securities and Exchange Commission, despite harsh backlash, has remained steadfast in clamping down on cryptocurrency. This whole fiasco about North Korean hackers using crypto mixers might set off a precedent for further regulations, which the SEC will always be keen on dishing out.

These developments underline the growing concerns surrounding cyber threats from state-sponsored actors, particularly within the realm of cryptocurrency. The Lazarus Group’s connection to both high-profile cyber attacks and the Tornado Cash sanctions highlights the complexity of the situation, as well as the importance of a vigilant regulatory environment to monitor and counteract such threats. As geopolitical tensions rise, the crypto industry may find itself increasingly entangled in these issues.

The challenges presented by groups like the Lazarus Group have prompted authorities worldwide to reconsider their approach to cybersecurity, particularly in the cryptocurrency domain. Governments and regulatory bodies are now grappling with the need to strike a balance between fostering innovation in the rapidly growing crypto space and implementing robust security measures to counteract malicious activities.

As countries like the United States, Japan, and South Korea express concerns over North Korean cyber activities, there is a clear need for international cooperation to address these threats effectively. Information sharing, collaborative investigations, and joint efforts to strengthen information security could help mitigate the risks posed by state-sponsored hacking groups.

At the same time, it is essential for the crypto industry to adopt a proactive stance toward security. Businesses operating within the sector must recognize the potential risks and implement necessary safeguards to protect both their operations and their customers. By working closely with regulators and law enforcement agencies, the crypto industry can contribute to global efforts to counter the malicious activities of groups like the Lazarus Group and ensure a safer and more secure environment for all stakeholders.

Disclaimer: This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice. Opinions stated herein are solely of the author’s, and hence do not represent or reflect CryptoDaily’s position on the matter. The author has no influential stakes in any of the digital assets and securities mentioned, and does not have any significant hold of or own any cryptocurrency or token discussed.