North Korea has raised around $2 billion from stealing cryptocurrencies and fiats to fund its weapons of mass destruction, a confidential United Nations report revealed.
“Democratic People’s Republic of Korea cyber actors, many operating under the direction of the Reconnaissance General Bureau, raise money for its WMD (weapons of mass destruction) programs, with total proceeds to date estimated at up to two billion US dollars,” the report stated.
Reported by Reuters on Monday, the report was researched by independent experts and was submitted last week to the UN Security Council North Korea sanctions committee.
“[North Korea] used cyberspace to launch increasingly sophisticated attacks to steal funds from financial institutions and cryptocurrency exchanges to generate income,” the UN report stated.
Furthermore, the sophisticated nature of the attacks allowed the country “to generate income in ways that are harder to trace and subject to less government oversight and regulation than the traditional banking sector.”
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It also detailed that hackers used web-based services to launder the extorted money from the crypto exchanges and banks.
The report also outlined that the experts are investigating “at least 35 reported instances of DPRK actors attacking financial institutions, cryptocurrency exchanges and mining activity designed to earn foreign currency” in around 17 countries.
State-sponsored attacks on crypto exchanges
North Korea-based hacker groups were accused many times of attacks on crypto exchanges. Earlier this year, a media report claimed that North Korean hackers were using phishing tactics to steal crucial information of the clients of South Korean crypto exchange UpBit.
The communist state-sponsored hackers were also allegedly involved in the attack on Coincheck, which resulted in the theft of $534 million in digital tokens.
Finance Magnates earlier reported that an infamous North Korean hacker group evolved tactics to attack digital asset exchanges, using sophisticated malware.
“We call upon all responsible states to take action to counter North Korea’s ability to conduct malicious cyber activity, which generates revenue that supports its unlawful WMD and ballistic missile programs,” a US State Department spokeswoman told Reuters.