US prosecutors have accused North Korean hackers of stealing more than $100 million from cryptocurrency firms

The US Department of Justice has filed charges against three North Korean hackers. They are accused of multiple cybercrimes and hacking hundreds of companies, including cryptocurrency firms.

According to U.S. prosecutors, Kim Il, Jon Chang Hyok, and Park Jin Hyok were members of the General Intelligence Agency, a military intelligence unit of North Korea. They participated in the theft of $1.3 billion from various companies around the world, including cryptocurrency firms, for example, the NiceHash service.

“The scope of the criminal activity of North Korean hackers is striking and has continued for a long time. These are the actions of a criminal state that will stop at nothing to take revenge and get money to support its regime, ” said U.S. Attorney Tracey Wilkison.

According to the ministry, in total, North Korean hackers stole $111.7 million from cryptocurrency companies, including $75 million from a Slovenian firm in December 2017, $24.9 million from an Indonesian company in September 2018, and $11.8 million from a New York firm in August 2020. Also, the US authorities believe that the accused were involved in the fraudulent scheme Marine Chain Token:

“Kim Il and the other defendants used fake names to communicate with investors, and persuaded them to invest in Marine Chain. They did not disclose that they were North Korean citizens.”

If convicted, the defendants could face up to 35 years in prison for cybercrime and bank fraud.

Earlier, the Reuters news agency, citing a “confidential UN report”, reported that North Korean hackers from the end of 2019 to November 2020 received $316.3 million as a result of hacking cryptocurrency services, and the funds were used to buy and develop weapons.