North Korea is funding its military program with money stolen from crypto exchanges and other hacker activities, a UN report reveals, quoting “total proceeds to date estimated at up to 2 billion USD”.
The report, presented to the UN Security Council says that North Korea is using the crypto markets “to launch increasingly sophisticated attacks to steal funds from financial institutions and cryptocurrency exchanges to generate income”.
Recently there have been several massive crypto currency exchange hacks, including the hack of the Tokyo based Remixpoint, which runs BITPoint exchange, resulting in a loss of 3.5 billion yen, or some 32 million USD worth of digital cash.
UN investigators are reportedly looking into “at least 35 reported instances of DPRK actors attacking financial institutions, crypto currency exchanges and mining activity designed to earn foreign currency” in 17 countries.
The hack of the Japanese Coincheck exchange, which led to the loss of more than 500 million USD in crypto currencies is also being investigated for North Korea links.
The report, seen by the Associated Press, says that massive attacks against crypto currency exchanges by North Korea allow Pyongyang “to generate income in ways that are harder to trace and subject to less government oversight and regulation than the traditional banking sector”, adding that North Korea also has access to the global financial system, “through bank representatives and networks operating worldwide” despite the sanctions.