North Korea Using Crypto Mining to Fund Military; UN Investigations Underway

North Korea

This Security Council report states that investigations are underway into at least 35 cases where North Koreans launched cyberattacks in 17 countries with the aim of raising funds.

Bangladesh and Chile each suffered two attacks, while 13 other countries were victims of one attack each: Costa Rica, Gambia, Guatemala, Kuwait, Liberia, Malaysia, Malta, Nigeria, Poland, Slovenia, South Africa, Tunisia and Vietnam.

North Korea may have confirmed the worst fears of cryptocurrency regulators by hacking crypto exchanges and financial institutions in at least 17 countries to fund its nuclear program.

Cryptocurrency mining 'a source of funds for the professional branch of the military'.

The panel also said it obtained information that the Taesong Department Store in Pyongyang, which reopened in April and is selling luxury goods, is part of the Taesong Group which includes two entities under United Nations sanctions and was previously linked to procurement for North Korea's ballistic missile programs.

The United Nations has officially begun an investigation into allegations against North Korea and its cyberattacks.

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It should be noted that although the USA has linked WannaCry to North Korea, no mention of ransomware is made in the AP or Reuters articles on the report prepared for the UN Security Council regarding North Korea.

North Korean hackers used three methods to carry out those attacks - 1. Another hack installed malware on an entire nations ATM system resulting in 10,000 fraudulent cash distributions across 20 countries.

Detailed information about the victims of the alleged North Korean cyberattacks on different nations has been stated in a broader report as published by Associated Press today.

The report also mentions that one of the 2018 attacks carried out on another unidentified exchange resulted in the stolen assets being "transferred through at least 5,000 separate transactions and further routed to multiple countries before eventual conversion". The UN experts also investigated instances of "cryptojacking" in which malware is used to infect a computer to illegally mine cryptocurrencies.

The Committee further highlighted the incident of Bithumb- a South Korean based leading cryptocurrency exchange of the world, that was hacked for nearly 4 times. Previously, a report had analyzed a piece of malware created to mine the cryptocurrency Monero "and send any mined currency to servers located at Kim Il-sung University in Pyongyang".

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