Cyberattacks By North Korea Yield $3 Bn For Nuclear Weapons

UN sanctions monitors are delving into a series of suspected cyberattacks by North Korea, allegedly amassing a staggering $3 billion in funds.

These illicit gains are believed to have substantially fueled the advancement of the secretive state’s nuclear weapons program, a draft of an unreleased UN report obtained by Reuters reveals.

The report scrutinizes a multitude of cyberattacks orchestrated by North Korea, with a particular focus on assaults targeting cryptocurrency-related companies.

Cyberattacks by North Korea Fuel Nuclear Ambitions

According to the findings, these sophisticated cyber campaigns served as a lucrative revenue stream for the regime, funneling substantial sums into its quest for nuclear armament.

In a report delivered to a Security Council committee, a panel of independent sanctions monitors highlighted the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK)’s persistent disregard for Security Council sanctions, employing the country’s formal name, as reported by The Guardian.

According to the monitors, who submit biannual reports to the 15-member Security Council, they are currently investigating 58 suspected cyberattacks attributed to the DPRK. These attacks targeted cryptocurrency-related companies between 2017 and 2023 and are estimated to have amassed around $3 billion.

The funds from these illicit activities are purportedly channeled to support the DPRK’s weapons of mass destruction (WMD) development efforts.

North Korea’s Disregard for Security Council Sanctions

The 15-member Security Council has long prohibited North Korea from engaging in nuclear tests and ballistic missile launches. Since 2006, the country has been under stringent UN sanctions, continuously bolstered by the Council to sever financial support for its weapons of mass destruction (WMD) development endeavors.

The North Korean mission to the UN in New York did not provide an immediate response to a request for comment regarding the report from sanctions monitors. Pyongyang has previously refuted allegations of involvement in hacking or other cyber-attacks.

The sanctions monitors highlighted that North Korean hacking groups, operating under the umbrella of Pyongyang’s main foreign intelligence agency, persisted in conducting a significant number of cyber-attacks.

Global Concerns Over North Korea’s Alleged Arms Supply to Russia

The likelihood of further action against North Korea by the council appears low, given its deadlock on the issue for several years. China and Russia have advocated for easing sanctions to encourage Pyongyang to resume denuclearization talks.

In 2023, Moscow and Pyongyang pledged to strengthen military ties. The United States has alleged North Korea’s provision of weapons to Russia for its involvement in the conflict in Ukraine, an accusation both North Korea and Russia have refuted.

“The panel is investigating reports from member states about supplies by DPRK of conventional arms and munitions in contravention of sanctions,” the sanctions monitors wrote, as reported by The Guardian.

“The 2023 overall recorded trade volume surpassed the total for 2022, accompanied by the reappearance of a large variety of foreign consumer goods, some of which could be classified as luxury items,” the sanctions monitors wrote, the report added.

Sanctions Monitor Report Highlights DPRK’s Illicit Financial Operations

The Security Council has maintained a longstanding prohibition on the sale or transfer of luxury goods to North Korea. Additionally, under UN sanctions enforced in 2017, all nations were mandated to repatriate North Korean workers employed abroad to prevent them from generating foreign currency for Kim Jong-un’s regime.

The sanctions monitors conducted inquiries into numerous reports of DPRK citizens working overseas, earning income in contravention of sanctions. These individuals were reportedly employed across various sectors, including information technology, restaurants, and construction.

Furthermore, the monitors observed that North Korea persists in accessing the international financial system and engaging in illicit financial activities, in violation of UN Security Council resolutions.

Media Disclaimer: This report is based on internal and external research obtained through various means. The information provided is for reference purposes only, and users bear full responsibility for their reliance on it. The Cyber Express assumes no liability for the accuracy or consequences of using this information.

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