North Korea’s Pirate Army launched at least seven attacks on cryptocurrency platforms in 2021 that threatened global players and reported the recluse state for nearly $ 400 million (6 , R 2 billion) of digital assets, according to a report.
The transport marked an increase of 40% compared to the previous year, The report from blockchain research firm Chainalysis released Thursday, adding that the attacks primarily targeted investment firms and centralized exchanges.
“These behaviors, taken together, paint a picture of a nation that supports large-scale cryptocurrency-based crime,” he said.
Chainalysis’s findings underscore leader Kim Jong Un’s reliance on state-backed hackers. The United States and the United Nations Security Council said The country’s cybercrimes are helping fund North Korea’s nuclear weapons program and supporting an economy hampered by global sanctions against atomic bombs and long-range missile testing.
The amount said by the research group is equivalent to about 1.5% of North Korea’s economy in 2020 and would likely represent more than 10% of its annual military budget.
The money North Korea makes from cybercrime helps it “fund government priorities, such as its nuclear and missile program,” the US office of the director of national intelligence said in a statement. unclassified report in 2021.
Chainalysis said North Korea has used phishing lures, code exploits, malware and advanced social engineering to siphon off funds. “Once North Korea obtained custody of the funds, it began a thorough laundering process to cover and collect. “
North Korea is stealing a growing variety of cryptocurrencies, according to the report. This has increased the complexity of its money laundering operations, which have become more cautious with each passing year, he added.
The report comes as North Korea stepped up pressure on sanctions, saying in a Friday dispatch from its Foreign Office that it would trigger “a stronger and more certain response” if the United States attempted to impose more economic pressure.
After North Korea conducted two tests this month of a new hypersonic missile system designed to use high speeds and maneuverability to evade US interceptors, the US Treasury Department appointed five North Koreans living abroad – one in Russia and four in China – for aiding the country’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs.
Kim has shown little interest in calls for the United States to resume nuclear disarmament talks that have stalled for nearly three years.
The Biden administration has indicated it could offer financial rewards in return for verifiable disarmament measures.
The North Korean regime has tried to fill its coffers through two main avenues to dodge sanctions, the United States and the United Nations have said.
The first is cybercrime. The other is the ship-to-ship transfer of goods such as coal: a North Korean ship will transfer its cargo to another ship, or the other way around, and the two ships usually try to hide their identities.
Currently, North Korea has more than 6,000 members in its Cyber Warfare Guidance Unit, also known as Office 121, according to assessments of the United States’ Unclassified Defense Reports and from South Korea.
The US government is prosecuting suspected North Korean agents, filing criminal complaints against people who, it says, illegally obtained confidential data from Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc. in 2014 and stole $ 81 million from the Bangladesh central bank in 2016.
North Korea has denied any involvement in the hacks.
Now Read: Bitcoin Resurfaces After US Inflation Surge