N. Korea’s Hackers Stole $2b To Fund Its Missile Program

The North Korean government will now be spending $2 billion on its weapons programme. Money it stole from cyber-attacks on foreign financial institutions.This comes from an unpublished United Nations Report, which was seen by Reuters on  5th August. 

The UN experts said North Korea “used cyberspace to launch increasingly sophisticated attacks to steal funds from financial institutions and cryptocurrency exchanges to generate income.” They also used cyberspace to launder the stolen money, the Report said.

The confidential UN report was prepared by a team of independent experts, who submitted it to the UN Security Council North Korea sanctions committee recently.

The authors of the Report claimed to have monitored North Korea's compliance over six months and found that it had repeatedly launched sophisticated and widespread attacks to steal funds from overseas banks and cryptocurrency exchanges to support its weapons programmes. The country also used cyberspace to launder the stolen money.

According to the Report, the income generated via large-scale cyber-attacks against crypto-currency exchanges is harder to track and is subject to less government oversight than the traditional banking sector. 

North Korean threat actors were blamed for the attempted theft of $951m from Bangladesh Bank in 2016 which, was stopped because of the attackers poor spelling which was rejected 

The Report claims that many of the North Korea advanced persistent threat (APT) groups operate under the guidance of North Korea's Reconnaissance General Bureau, the top military intelligence agency of the country. Moreover, there are several secretive government entities that based in foreign countries, working under diplomatic cover to procure technology and equipment for North Korea's weapons programmes.

The Report indicated there are currently investigations into about 35  reported instances of cyber-attacks conducted by North Korean APT groups against financial institutions and cryptocurrency exchanges in about 17 countries.

North Korea has continued to boost its nuclear and missile programmes in recent months, the experts said, although it refrained from conducting Intercontinental Ballistic Missile launches or a nuclear test. In 2006, the UN Security Council imposed sanctions on North Korea to check funding for Pyongyang's missiles programmes. 

The government of Kim Jong-un and his predecessors have long been involved in international organised crime and they are now using a range of hacking gangs like Hidden Cobra and different malware.

Reuters:              Computing:

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