Editorial

UN: North Korea used cyberattacks to steal $2bn for weapons

May be as many as 35 known instances of the regime “attacking financial institutions, cryptocurrency exchanges and mining activity designed to earn foreign currency”

Posted 9 August 2019 by

North Korea’s hardline Communist regime may have stolen up to $2 billion from global banks and cryptocurrency exchanges through cyberattacks to fund its nuclear missiles programme.

Cybersecurity

The source is an internal United Nations report seen by French news agency AFP earlier this week, with the report alleging that there may be as many as 35 reported instances of the regime “attacking financial institutions, cryptocurrency exchanges and mining activity designed to earn foreign currency”.

“Large-scale attacks against cryptocurrency exchanges allow the DPRK [Democratic Peoples’ Republic of Korea] to generate income in ways that are harder to trace and subject to less government insight and regulation than the traditional banking sector,” the story goes on to claim.

“Cyber actors, many operating under the direction of the Reconnaissance General Bureau (North Korea’s intelligence agency), raise money for its WMD (weapons of mass destruction) programmes – with total proceeds to date estimated at up to two billion US dollars,” the UN is reported to believe.

Kim Jong-un is also believed to be flagrantly violating UN sanctions by buying luxury goods and equipment related to weapons development through illegal access to the global financial system.

“The DPRK has also used cyberspace to launch increasingly sophisticated attacks to steal funds from financial institutions and cryptocurrency exchanges to facilitate income,” AFP goes on to claim.

“Large-scale attacks against cryptocurrency exchanges allow the DPRK to generate income in ways that are harder to trace and subject to less government insight and regulation than the traditional banking sector,” the report concludes.