North Korea steals $300 million USD in cryptocurrency for nuclear weapons – UN report

Hackers in North Korea stole cryptocurrency worth more than $300 million USD to pay the government’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles, according to a confidential report by United Nations experts monitoring sanctions on the country’s capital Pyongyang.

From 2019 to November 2020, North Korea stole around $316.4 million USD worth of “virtual assets,” according to AFP, which obtained a copy of the report. The so-called “hermit kingdom” has an army of thousands of “well trained” hackers who have done numerous cyberattacks on South Korean firms, institutions and researchers in the past, according to AFP.

Two hackers are linked to the recent cyber-heists. The UN panel says it had been investigating a cryptocurrency exchange hack from September 2020 where $281 million USD worth of cryptocurrency was stolen. A month later, $23 million USD was stolen in another cyberattack.

“Preliminary analysis, based on the attack vectors and subsequent efforts to launder the illicit proceeds strongly suggests links to the DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.)”

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Caitlin Ashworth

Caitlin Ashworth is a writer from the United States who has lived in Thailand since 2018. She graduated from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and media studies in 2016. She was a reporter for the Daily Hampshire Gazette In Massachusetts. She also interned at the Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia and Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Florida.

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