North Korea amassing cryptocurrencies through exchange hacks, UN panel concluded

08 Mar, 2019
by Richard Allen
Security
North Korea amassing cryptocurrencies through exchange hacks, UN panel concluded

According to a report conducted by the United Nations Security Council, North Korea has been actively hacking cryptocurrency exchanges as a means to circumvent economic sanctions.

According to NikkeiAsianReview, who have seen the report, North Korea has been waging cyberattacks on international financial institutions from 2015 to 2018. This is the first time the UN has detailed the level of North Korea’s illicit activities.

The country has had severe economic sanctions imposed as a result of its nuclear and missile programs, which have taken a toll on the country’s ability to export coal, resulting in dwindling reserves of foreign currency.

The panel stated that cryptocurrencies have provided the country “with more ways to evade sanctions, given that they are harder to trace, can be laundered many times and are independent from government regulation." Furthermore, the panel suspects North Korea of leveraging blockchain technology to avoid being tracked.

North Korea is suspected of launching at least five successful attacks on Asian cryptocurrency exchanges between January 2017 and September 2018, totaling $571 million in losses, the panel has estimated. As a result, member states have been advised to "enhance their ability to facilitate robust information exchange on the cyberattacks by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea with other governments and with their own financial institutions" to be better equipped at detecting and preventing further attacks.

Read more: Over 30 crypto holders hit by North Korean hackers, as exchanges improve security; New report suggests that 65% of crypto stolen since 2017 has gone to North Korea

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