North Korea has stolen up to $2 billion from banks and cryptocurrency exchanges through cyberattacks to fund its nuclear missiles program, according to a United Nations report seen by AFP Wednesday.
The UN is investigating at least 35 reported instances of Pyongyang “attacking financial institutions, cryptocurrency exchanges and mining activity designed to earn foreign currency,” it said. “Large-scale attacks against cryptocurrency exchanges allow the DPRK to generate income in ways that are harder to trace and subject to less government insight and regulation than the traditional banking sector,” the report added.
“Cyber actors, many operating under the direction of the Reconnaissance General Bureau (North Korea’s intelligence agency), raise money for its WMD (weapons of mass destruction) programs, with total proceeds to date estimated at up to two billion US dollars,” said the UN report.
North Korea has launched four pairs of projectiles in less than two weeks and threatened more, amid fears it is ramping up its missiles program. Leader Kim Jong Un says the country’s latest missile launches were a warning to Washington and Seoul over their joint war games, state news agency KCNA reported.