More recently, with its borders shut because of the pandemic, and traditional banks strengthening their firewalls against hackers, cryptocurrency theft has become an increasingly vital source of foreign currency for the regime. Its hackers are accused of stealing $571 million from cryptocurrency exchanges between January 2017 and September 2018 and $316 million from 2019 to November 2020.
North Korean hackers may have walked away with nearly $400 million in cryptocurrency last year, according to the crypto data firm Chainalysis. This year, North Korea’s haul is up to a little under $1 billion. To put those figures into context, the country earned only $89 million in official exports in 2020, according to South Korea’s government-run statistical agency.
Source: How North Korea Used Crypto to Hack Its Way Through the Pandemic – The New York Times