The US Security Council has heard that North Korea is using cyber-attacks and blockchain technologies to circumvent economic sanctions and preserve foreign currency. By hacking, the repatriated republic has brought in around $ 670 million in foreign exchange and cryptocurrency, a panel of experts said before the Council's annual report to the North Korea Sanctions Committee of the Security Council.
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Crypto-exchange and financial institutions hacked
Pyongyang faces a series of economic sanctions imposed by US forces on US requests for their nuclear and missile programs. The embargo has affected North Korea's coal exports, an important source of foreign exchange.
According to the Nikkei Asian Review, which claims to have received the panel's report, the Nordic cyber attacks attacked foreign financial firms from 2015 to 2018 and used blockchain technology to cover their tracks.
Between January 2017 and September 2018, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea hacked the exchange of cryptocurrencies in Asia at least five times, for a total loss of $ 571 million, the panel estimated. It is believed that the attacks were carried out by a specialized military unit and are now an important part of North Korean government policy, the article said in detail.
The Panel did not name the affected trading platforms, but the Japanese stock exchange Coincheck reported in January 2018 on the theft of the $ 530 million NEM cryptocurrency during an attack. Another cyber attack on Zaif, a crypto exchange outside Japan, in September last year, left a $ 60 million financial hole.
In South Korea, more than 10 million users of the Interpark e-commerce platform were stolen in cyber attacks their personal information. Hackers demanded a $ 2.7 million ransom to return the stolen data. The South Korean government believes that the attacks were carried out by the North, and the US expert panel is convinced that they should receive foreign currency.
Avoiding economic sanctions
In his report, which has to be officially filed within a few days, the US panel said:
[Cryptocurrencies] Provide the Democratic People's Republic of Korea with more opportunities to circumvent sanctions, as they are more difficult to prosecute, can be washed many times, and are independent of government regulations.
The experts pointed out that since 2016, the North Korean government has created a pool of illegal money from hacking. It recommended that States Parties "improve their ability to facilitate North Korea's robust exchange of information with other governments and their own financial institutions about the cyberattack." To recognize and prevent the North from circumventing the sanctions.
North Korea is also being accused of using virtual currency anonymity to circumvent economic sanctions, the Nikkei Asian Review reported. For example, Marine Chain, a Hong Kong-based company that buys and sells ships with blockchain, is said to have provided cryptocurrency to North Korea until it was shut down in September 2018.
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Images courtesy of Shutterstock and Nikkei Asian Review.
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The UN Panel's Contribution: North Korea hacked $ 571 million from Asian Crypto Exchanges and first appeared on Bitcoin News.