North Korean Hackers Amass $2bn Via Cyber-Attacks

Written by

North Korean hackers have earned the Kim Jong-un regime in the region of $2bn after targeting banks and cryptocurrency exchanges, according to a new UN report.

The effort was likely coordinated by the hermit nation’s top military intelligence agency, the Reconnaissance General Bureau, according to the report, which was leaked to the press on Monday.

“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) programs, with total proceeds to date estimated at up to two billion US dollar,” it noted.

Investigators are said to be looking at “at least 35 reported instances of DPRK actors attacking financial institutions, cryptocurrency exchanges and mining activity” across 17 countries designed to generate foreign currency.

By doing so, it is believed that they would be able “to generate income in ways that are harder to trace and subject to less government oversight and regulation than the traditional banking sector,” as well as being easier to launder.

The news comes following several missile launches by the North Korean regime in May and July, which the UN said had “enhanced its overall ballistic missile capabilities.”

Despite the high-profile meeting of Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un, the country continues to break sanctions by buying WMD-related items and luxury goods, and is enhancing its nuclear and missile program, the UN claimed.

It’s been known for a while that North Korean hackers have been targeting cryptocurrency exchanges, but until now reports were piecemeal, hiding the true scale of the operation.

As far back as 2017 there were reports of state hackers targeting a London cryptocurrency firm and low velocity cryptocurrency mining operations. Last year reports suggested they managed to steal over £31m from South Korean exchange Bithumb.

What’s hot on Infosecurity Magazine?