North Korean Hackers Steal Millions of Pounds in Cryptocurrency, UN Says


North Korean hackers stole more than £37 million worth of cryptocurrency to fund and expand its nuclear and ballistic missile programs, UN experts have said in a new report.

The annual report, compiled by independent sanctions monitors, says there has been “a marked acceleration” in Pyongyang’s testing and demonstration of new short-range and possibly medium-range missiles in January, “incorporating into the both ballistic and guidance technologies and using both solid and liquid propellants”. ‘.

Investigators found that cyberattacks stole more than £37 million worth of digital assets between 2020 and mid-2021 from at least three cryptocurrency exchanges in North America, Europe and Asia.

Cyberattacks “remain an important source of revenue” for Kim Jong Un’s government and Pyongyang’s nuclear and ballistic missile program, the experts added.

They also said that North Korea “continues to seek equipment, technology and know-how for these programs overseas, including through computer facilities and joint scientific research.”

The report was sent to the UN Security Council sanctions committee against North Korea on Friday.

This follows a report by blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis, which said North Korea launched at least seven attacks on cryptocurrency platforms that mined nearly $400 million in assets. digital last year.

Cyberattacks ‘remain an important source of revenue’ for Kim Jong Un’s government (pictured) and Pyongyang’s nuclear and ballistic missile programme, experts added

The annual report, compiled by independent sanctions monitors, indicates that there have been

The annual report, compiled by independent sanctions monitors, says there has been “a marked acceleration” in Pyongyang’s testing and demonstration of new short-range and possibly medium-range missiles in January, “incorporating into the both ballistic and guidance technologies and using both solid and liquid propellants”. ‘. Pictured: A rail missile regiment firing exercise is held in North Pyongan

The report, published last month, said: “From 2020 to 2021, the number of North Korea-related hacks increased from four to seven, and the value extracted from these hacks increased by 40 percent.”

Additionally, a 2019 United Nations report estimated that North Korea may have already spent at least $2 billion from the proceeds of cybercrime on weapons.

A 2019 United Nations report estimated that North Korea may have already spent at least $2 billion from the proceeds of cybercrime on weapons.

Another UN report indicates that North Korean hackers are now extending their lucrative business to stealing military secrets, which they can then resell.

North Korea has been banned from conducting nuclear tests and launching ballistic missiles – but they continue to develop them in violation of UN Security Council resolutions.

The Security Council initially imposed sanctions on North Korea after its first nuclear test in 2006 and tightened them in response to new nuclear tests and the country’s increasingly sophisticated nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

Last month, North Korea carried out nine ballistic missile launches, according to the United States.

North Korea has stepped up testing of new, potentially nuclear missiles designed to overwhelm missile defenses in the region.

Some experts say Kim is reverting to a tried-and-true technique of pressuring the world with missile launches and outrageous threats before offering negotiations aimed at securing concessions.

Pyongyang has stepped up its cybercrime activities. The United Nations has reported that 35 countries have been targeted by hackers in the country, who have launched numerous attacks against financial institutions and cryptocurrency exchanges – earning around $2 billion.

This follows a report by blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis, which said North Korea launched at least seven attacks on cryptocurrency platforms that mined nearly $400 million in assets. digital last year.  Pictured: A hacker on a laptop (stock image)

This follows a report by blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis, which said North Korea launched at least seven attacks on cryptocurrency platforms that mined nearly $400 million in assets. digital last year. Pictured: A hacker on a laptop (stock image)

In 2016, a partially successful attempt to steal $1 billion from the central bank of Bangladesh.

In January 2021, a team of North Korean hackers used a fake website to hack other hackers, Google revealed.

Google said at the time that Pyongyang-backed hackers lured computer security researchers to a hacking blog site using fake social media profiles and then used clandestine methods to infect their computers in order to to extract information.

The search engine giant said the scheme, which involved hacking into Windows and Google Chrome, was sometimes successful, but did not specify what type of information was compromised.

Experts say the attacks reflect North Korean efforts to improve its cyber skills and be able to breach widely used computing products, such as the Chrome internet browser and the Windows 10 operating system.

In 2017, North Korea was blamed after a huge ransomware virus called WannaCry swept through 150 countries and hit at least 200,000 targets, from Australian railways to French car factories, all of whose computer systems suddenly froze, replaced by ransom demands to be paid in Bitcoin. .

The most alarming target, however, was Britain’s NHS, where some 600 organizations within it were affected.

The government said the attack cost the NHS £92million, with 19,000 appointments cancelled.

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