In a bid to foster its Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) program, North Korea has been accused of using multiple cyber-attacks to steal an estimated $2 billion from cryptocurrency exchanges and banks.
According to a confidential report by independent experts to the U.N. Security Council North Korea sanctions committee, as reported by Reuters yesterday, North Korea is still enhancing its nuclear and missile programs through funds stolen from crypto exchanges and banks.
As per the report, the alleged hackers who store the funds for the WMD project operated under the directive of the Reconnaissance General Bureau – a top North Korean military agency.
“Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) 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 U.S. dollars,” an excerpt of the report reads.
It can be recalled that in 2006, the Global Security Council imposed trade sanctions on North Korea that would deter the country from funding its Nuclear and ballistic missile programs ambition.
However, the U.N. report stated that DPRK had devised a new technique of targeting crypto exchanges to generate funds because it is difficult to trace crypto transactions.
Reacting to the report, a U.S. State Department spokeswoman stated:
We call upon all responsible states to take action to counter North Korea’s ability to conduct a malicious cyber activity, which generates revenue that supports its unlawful WMD and ballistic missile programs.
At the moment, the experts are currently investigating 35 instances where the DPRK actors have stolen from, including various financial institutions and crypto exchanges in 17 countries within Asia.
As reported on Coinfomania in July, the South Korean Ministry of Justice recently released data showing how much the country has lost to fraudulent cryptocurrency-related activities from 2017 to 2019 which amounted to nearly 2.7 trillion won ($2.3 billion).