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North Korea stole R6.2 billion in cryptocurrency in 2021

The North Korean hacker army launched at least seven attacks against cryptocurrency platforms in 2021, threatening global players and netting nearly $ 400 million worth of digital assets for the isolated state, the report said.

Transportation was 40% higher than a year earlier. report The Chainalysis, released by the research firm Blockchain on Thursday, said it added that the attacks were primarily targeted at investment firms and centralized exchanges. These behaviors together paint a portrait of a nation that supports cryptocurrency-based crime on a massive scale,” it said.

Chainalysis’s findings highlight Director Kim Jong Un’s dependence on state-backed hackers. United States and UN Security Council have said the country’s cybercrime is helping to fund North Korea’s nuclear weapons program and support an economy shaken by global sanctions on the atomic bomb and long-range missile tests.

The amount reported by the research team is about 1.5% of the North Korean economy in 2020 and probably more than 10% of the North Korean economy. annual army budget.

The money North Korea receives from cybercrime will help it “fund government priorities, such as the nuclear and missile program,” the director of the U.S. National Intelligence Service said. unclassified report in 2021.

Chainalysis said North Korea used phishing lures, code exploitation, malware and advanced social manipulation to raise funds. “When North Korea took possession of the funds, they began a careful washing process to cover up and redeem it.”

According to the report, North Korea is stealing more and more cryptocurrencies. This has increased the complexity of its money laundering operations, which has grown year by year to be more cautious, it added.

The report comes as North Korea tightened sanctions and said in a message sent by its foreign ministry on Friday that it would release a “stronger and more secure response” if the United States tried to exert more economic pressure.

After North Korea conducted two tests this month on a new hypersonic missile system designed to use high speeds and maneuverability to dodge U.S. kidnappers, the U.S. Treasury Department named five North Koreans living abroad – one in Russia and four in China – assisting the country’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

Kim has shown little interest in U.S. calls to return to nuclear disarmament talks, which have stalled for nearly three years. The Biden administration has stated that it can offer financial rewards in return for verifiable disarmament activities.

The North Korean administration has tried to fill the coffers with two main routes by circumventing sanctions, the United States and the United Nations have said.

The first is cybercrime. The other is the transfer of commodities such as coal from ship to ship: a North Korean ship transfers its cargo to another ship or vice versa, and both ships tend to try to disguise their identities.

North Korea currently has more than 6,000 members in the cyber warfare control unit, also known as Bureau 121, according to estimates by unclassified defense reports from the United States and South Korea.

The U.S. government has prosecuted alleged North Korean agents and filed criminal charges against people it said obtained illegally confidential information from Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc. in 2014 and stole $ 81 million from the Central Bank of Bangladesh in 2016.  North Korea has denied its involvement in those hackers.

Source: eNCA

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