UN Claims North Korea Stealing Billions in Cyberattacks

United Nations experts said, in a new and confidential report, that North Korean hackers have stolen millions of dollars worth of cryptocurrency exchanges from cyberattacks last year to finance and develop North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

The panel of cyber specialists said that according to an unnamed government, North Korean “cyber-actors stole more than $50 million between 2020 and mid-2021 from at least three cryptocurrency exchanges in North America, Europe, and Asia, probably reflecting a shift to diversify its cybercrime operations.”

“Maintenance and development of DPRK’s nuclear and ballistic missile infrastructure continued, and DPRK continued to seek material, technology, and know-how for these programs overseas, including through cyber means and joint scientific research,” the report said.

The monitors said “cyberattacks, particularly on cryptocurrency assets, remain an important revenue source” for North Korea and that they had received information that North Korean hackers continued to target financial institutions, cryptocurrency firms, and exchanges.

The monitors also cited a report cybersecurity firm Chainalysis published last month that said North Korea launched at least seven attacks on cryptocurrency platforms that extracted nearly $400 million worth of digital assets last year.

The U.N. sanctions monitors reported in 2019 that North Korea had generated an estimated $2 billion for its weapons of mass destruction programs through cyberattacks.

North Korea has been subject to U.N. sanctions since 2006, which the Security Council has strengthened over the years to target the country’s funding for nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

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