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UN Believes North Korean Crypto Raiders Have Amassed USD 2Bn

Tim Alper
Last updated: | 1 min read

North Korea is reportedly continuing to intensify its attacks on cryptocurrency exchanges – and may have accrued a staggering USD 2 billion from its efforts so far.

Source: iStock/pawel.gaul

In Japan, newspaper Asahi Shinbum says it has obtained access to an as-yet-unpublished, 142-page UN Security Council report that details the scales of North Korea’s alleged crypto-hacking activities.

The report allegedly contains details of how Pyongyang has successfully carried out “35 cyber attacks on [conventional] financial institutions and cryptocurrency exchanges in 17 countries, in the period of December 2015 to May 2019.”

The Security Council believes the cyber raids have been conducted by a secretive group working under the direct command of the Korean People’s Army’s Reconnaissance General Bureau, the intelligence agency of the country’s armed forces.

Previous reports from South Korea have claimed the North has put together an “elite team of 20-30 cyber warriors” to conduct cryptocurrency raids.

The team is said to have amassed a total of USD 2 billion from its raids since 2015, which the UN believes is being used to directly fund Pyongyang’s Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) program.

As reported in November 2018, North Korean hackers had begun attempting to “steal cryptocurrency from individual investors” rather than just target larger exchanges.

South Korean cybersecurity firm Cuvepia said back then that it had come across “more than 30 cases since April 2018 in which suspected North Korean hackers had preyed on people holding cryptocurrency,” although most cases may have thus gone unreported, with as many as 100 raids having already taken place.

Readers may recall that Pyongyang earlier this year held an “international cryptocurrency and blockchain conference.” Its organizers claimed the event had been a success and that they were planning a bigger and better conference to be held in the “near future.”