The United Nations (UN) has released a damning report on North Korea. The country led by dictator Kim Jong-un is reportedly involved in massive theft of assets, estimated to be worth as much as $2 billion, from exchanges and banks. The money is reportedly being siphoned off and used to finance the country’s stockpiling of weapons of mass destruction (WMD).
The UN asserts that the communist country’s leaders “continued to enhance its nuclear and missile programmes although it did not conduct a nuclear test or ICBM (Intercontinental Ballistic Missile) launch.” Those findings were presented to the UN Security Council North Korea sanctions committee by independent experts who are monitoring the country’s activities.
The same report added that the country had “used cyberspace to launch increasingly sophisticated attacks to steal funds from financial institutions and cryptocurrency exchanges to generate income” and used the same cyberspace to conduct money-laundering activity to cover its tracks.
The experts continued, “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) programmes, with total proceeds to date estimated at up to two billion U.S. dollars.”
The monitoring group has reportedly uncovered over 35 instances of North Korea government officials or supporters targeting crypto exchanges, crypto mining operations and financial institutions in 17 different countries to carry out its illicit activity. The group points out that, by going after crypto exchanges, North Korea is able to “generate income in ways that are harder to trace and subject to less government oversight and regulation than the traditional banking sector.”
There have been rumors in the past that North Korea might be behind some of the largest thefts in the Bitcoin ecosystem, but an official report approved by the UN cements the allegations. South Korea is reportedly the preferred target of the attacks and its biggest ally, the U.S., wants governments around the world to become more involved. A representative from the U.S. State Department said after the report was published, “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.”
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