The United Nations now suggest that North Korea has stolen around $2 billion worth of crypto. Specifically, the rogue nation is said to have hacked a number of cryptocurrency exchanges and banks. This is at least according to a leaked confidential UN report.
United Nations reveal massive North Korean crypto theft
This confidential report was recently acquired and covered by several mainstream news outlets, including Reuters. According to a Reuters article published on Monday, North Korea’s cyberattacks were reportedly aimed at generating funds for its weapons of mass destruction programs.
Reuters reports that this article was submitted to the United Nations Security Council last week. However, North Korean UN representatives have reportedly not responded to the report yet.
According to the report, North Korea supposedly “used cyberspace to launch increasingly sophisticated attacks to steal funds from financial institutions and cryptocurrency exchanges to generate income.”
Moreover, allegations of North Korean cybersecurity attacks have long been around. Especially within the cryptocurrency community, there have long been widespread allegations of North Korea-orchestrated hacking attacks.
North Korea turns towards crypto as sanctions mount
The so-called “Lazarus Group” in particular has become especially well-known. In fact, Toshi Times have previously covered how the risk of North Korean hackers was increasing for individual investors. This latest United Nations report seems to confirm these fears.
According to Reuters, experts are now investigating “at least 35 reported instances of DPRK actors attacking financial institutions, cryptocurrency exchanges and mining activity designed to earn foreign currency” in over 17 separate countries.
The reason as to why North Korea would target crypto exchanges also appears quite clear. According to UN experts, North Korea is attempting “to generate income in ways that are harder to trace and subject to less government oversight and regulation than the traditional banking sector.”
This is the result of extensive sanctions imposed upon North Korea in a series of measures taken since 2006. These sanctions have been aimed at limiting North Korea’s access to international trade and funding. However, as seen with Venezuela, such sanctions can turn countries towards cryptocurrencies.
Nevertheless, this is not the first time that an internationally respected agency warns of North Korean hacking attempts. The FBI has previously issued a similar warning. However, this is the first time that the United Nations has actually reported on it. It remains to see what measures the agency takes.
Rasmus Pihl is a writer for Toshi Times by day and an avid follower of the blockchain industry by night. Rasmus holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing from the Gothenburg School of Business, Economics, and Law and runs a Swedish marketing consulting firm. Moreover, when he isn’t writing for Toshi Times, traveling, working or changing the world in some other capacity, Rasmus is more than likely caught up in postgraduate studies.