Hacking groups affiliated with North Korea are responsible for much of the theft occurring on decentralized finance (DeFi) protocols, according to blockchain analysis platform Chainalysis.
The market intelligence firm that hackers linked to the isolated country have stolen a billion dollars from DeFi protocols so far this year.
“Much of the value stolen from DeFi protocols can be attributed to bad actors affiliated with North Korea, especially elite hacking units like Lazarus Group. We estimate that so far in 2022, North Korea-affiliated groups have stolen approximately $1 billion of cryptocurrency from DeFi protocols.”
According to Chainalysis, the value of crypto assets stolen by all bad actors, not just North Korea-affiliated groups, has increased by nearly 60% over the first seven months of 2022 compared to the same time period in 2021.
“Through July 2022, $1.9 billion worth of cryptocurrency has been stolen in hacks of services, compared to just under $1.2 billion at the same point in 2021.”
Chainalysis says the trend shows no signs of reversing as the first week of August has already recorded an additional $195 million worth of digital assets getting stolen from crypto protocols, including the hacking of Nomad, an Ethereum () bridge.
The analytics company says that while the theft of digital assets is growing this year, scams and darknet crypto activity are on the decline.
“Total scam revenue for 2022 currently sits at $1.6 billion, 65% lower than where it was through the end of July in 2021…
Darknet market revenue is also down significantly in 2022, and is currently 43% lower than where it was through July in 2021.”