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UN Investigates North Korea’s Alleged $3 Billion Cyberattacks on Crypto Platforms: Report

UN Investigates North Korea’s Alleged $3 Billion Cyberattacks on Crypto Platforms: Report

Key Takeaways




As per the report, the monitors are examining 58 suspected cyberattacks attributed to North Korea, targeting crypto firms between 2017 and 2023.



UN is expected to release a published report of its findings within the next two months.




An independent panel of United Nations sanctions monitors is actively investigating North Korea’s suspected involvement in cyberattacks targeting cryptocurrency firms, amounting to a staggering $3 billion. 



According to a Reuters report , the monitors have accused the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) of violating Security Council sanctions by allegedly using the proceeds from these cyber intrusions to advance its nuclear weapons program.



Recent findings by TRM Labs revealed that North Korea-linked hackers pilfered $200 million worth of cryptocurrencies from January to August 2023 alone, constituting over 20% of all stolen crypto assets during that period. Analysts suggest that this illicit activity has enabled North Korea to bolster its nuclear and ballistic missile programs, marking a strategic shift towards alternative revenue streams.



Nick Carlsen, an intelligence analyst at TRM Labs, emphasized North Korea’s relentless pursuit of financial resources, stating, “This is just obviously a much more efficient way for North Korea to make money.”



The United Nations has imposed multiple sanctions on North Korea since its first nuclear test in 2006, including bans on financial services and restrictions on mineral and metal exports, aiming to curtail the regime’s access to funding sources. However, despite these measures, North Korea has continued to exploit vulnerabilities in the international financial system to engage in illicit financial activities, as per reports from the UN panel.



According to a report by Reuters, the monitors are currently examining 58 suspected cyberattacks attributed to North Korea, targeting cryptocurrency-related companies between 2017 and 2023. These attacks, valued at approximately $3 billion, are believed to have provided crucial funding for the DPRK’s weapons of mass destruction (WMD) development efforts.



Additionally, blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis reported that 2022 witnessed the highest volume of crypto hacking, with a staggering $3.8 billion stolen from cryptocurrency businesses, predominantly by North Korea-linked hackers. Moreover, recent research indicates that cyber-espionage groups are employing diverse tactics to amass substantial amounts of cryptocurrency assets.



In 2023, North Korea-affiliated hackers targeted a record number of cryptocurrency platforms, seizing over $1 billion in assets. Chainalysis highlighted that these attacks represent the most extensive assault on cryptocurrency platforms recorded from 2016 to 2023.



According to Reuters, the UN report detailing these findings is expected to be released later this month or in early next month.


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