According to an annual report to the U.N. Security Council, North Korea stole a record amount of cryptocurrency last year. The report estimated that the amount of stolen virtual assets ranged from $630 million to over $1 billion.
The report, which was prepared by a panel of experts on North Korea, states that the country has been using sophisticated hacking techniques to steal cryptocurrency from exchanges and individuals since 2019. The stolen funds have been used to finance the country’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs, which are subject to international sanctions.
The report highlights the increasing use of cryptocurrency by North Korea as a means of evading international sanctions. The country has been subject to a number of economic sanctions in recent years, which have had a significant impact on its economy. However, the use of cryptocurrency allows the country to bypass these sanctions and access international markets. The report further warned that “Illicitly obtained virtual assets are protected by both the anonymity of the blockchain and the intentional obfuscation of the passage of assets through cryptocurrency exchanges.”
According to the report, the cyber attacks have been carried out by a group of hackers known as “Lazarus,” which is believed to be operating under the direction of the North Korean government. The group has been active since at least 2009 and has been responsible for a number of high-profile cyber attacks in the past, including the 2014 attack on Sony Pictures.
The report also calls on member states to share information on cyber threats and to cooperate in prosecuting those responsible.