The nuclear and missile programmes of Pyongyang has been funded by North Korea using cyberattacks against banks and cryptocurrency exchanges, a new report has revealed.
According to a confidential UN report seen by Reuters, these attacks have generated a bounty worth $2bn. Moreover, the report stated that the country also used cyberspace to launder the money.
“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) programmes, with total proceeds to date estimated at up to two billion US dollars,” the report said.
It also noted that by attacking cryptocurrency exchanges, North Korean attacks were harder to trace. Exchanges were also a prime target due to them lacking the same regulatory and governmental oversight that traditional banks have.
The US National Counterintelligence and Security Center (NCSC) warned companies against both North Korean and Chinese cyberattacks in January 2019.
“Make no mistake, American companies are squarely in the cross-hairs of well-financed nation-state actors, who are routinely breaching private sector networks, stealing proprietary data, and compromising supply chains,” said William Evanina, director of NCSC, at the time. “The attacks are persistent, aggressive, and cost our nation jobs, economic advantage and hundreds of billions of dollars.”
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