North Korea Revenue Base Heavily Dependent on Cryptocurrency Hacks: UN Report

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According to a recent Reuters report citing a confidential United Nations’ (UN) document, North Korea realizes a substantial amount of its revenue from state-sponsored hackings. These hackers continue to target financial institutions and cryptocurrency platforms like exchanges and have carted away jaw-dropping amounts over the years.

The UN document also showed that the sanctioned Asian nation has used most of these funds to advance its nuclear and missile programs. The UN document, produced by independent sanctions monitors and submitted to the Security Council North Korea sanctions committee last Friday, noted:

“Cyberattacks, particularly on cryptocurrency assets, remain an important revenue source [for DPRK].”

The report also detailed that “DPRK cyber actors stole more than $50 million between 2020 and mid-2021 from at least three cryptocurrency exchanges in North America, Europe, and Asia.”

North Korea Increases Nuclear Missile Campaign

The monitors cited a recent estimate from Chainalysis, detailing that the sitting regime has overseen nothing less than seven attacks on cryptocurrency companies in 2021, culminating in the theft of about $400 million in digital assets. The Chainalysis report also noted that “these attacks targeted primarily] investment firms and centralized exchanges.”

In 2019, the UN sanctions monitors revealed that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) had realized a jaw-dropping $2 billion through sophisticated cyberattacks, most of which was used to fund its nuclear weapons campaign. The report noted:

“Although no nuclear tests or launches of ICBMs [intercontinental ballistic missiles] were reported, DPRK continued to develop its capability for the production of nuclear fissile materials.”

The curators of the report argued that the maintenance and development of the Asian nation’s nuclear program are still ongoing. They also revealed that North Korea, which the UN has sanctioned since 2006, has recorded increased ballistic missile testing and has facilitated nine of such tests in January alone, a monthly record high.

 

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Azeez Mustapha

Azeez Mustapha is a trading professional, currency analyst, signals strategist, and funds manager with over ten years of experience within the financial field. As a blogger and finance author, he helps investors understand complex financial concepts, improve their investing skills, and learn how to manage their money.