Jason Bartlett, research associate at the Center for a New American Security, a national security think tank, said the Axie Infinity hack shows a trend of North Korea continuing to be "incredibly innovative and how they target and what they target."
"You don't necessarily need the nicest new MacBook to conduct a destructive cyber attack or to launch a massive cyber heist campaign -- you just need really good coders and strong software abilities," he said. "Those are two things that North Korea has."
Looking forward, Bartlett said North Korea is diversifying and widening the circle of their cybertargets.
"What really seems to be increasing is their diversity and what they're targeting and how they're targeting it," he said. "I think that the main goal will always be to try to steal as much cryptocurrency as possible, and I think they're honestly going to target wherever they think that money is."
In a piece Bartlett wrote for The Diplomat in December, he said the future of North Korean cybercrime would feature an increased focus on money laundering via decentralized finance (DeFi) platforms, services like certain exchanges and Axie Infinity that are more anonymous and less regulated due to the lack of a single entity in charge of assets.
Bartlett argued North Korea would also focus further on ransomware attacks, phishing attacks and additional cryptocurrency laundering techniques.
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