The US, Japan and South Korea have established a high-level consultative body designed to counter North Korea’s cyber activities.
A key purpose of the new group is to prevent cyber-attacks and crypto heists used to fund North Korea’s weapons development, including its nuclear program, according to South Korea’s Office of National Security.
The consultative body will “strengthen the ability of the three countries to jointly respond to global cyber threats,” the South Korean office added.
Under the framework, officials from the US, Japan and South Korea will hold quarterly meetings to enhance cooperation in this area.
Anne Neuberger, Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Advisor for Cyber and Emerging Technologies at the US National Security Council (NSC), agreed to the creation of the consultative body with counterparts from South Korea and Japan on October 10 in Washington DC.
In a digital press briefing on October 18, Neuberger said that North Korean hacking of cryptocurrency infrastructure around the world “is a major source of revenue for the regime that’s used to finance the advancing of the missile program and the far greater number of launches we have seen in the last year.”
“Addressing North Korean hacking has been a priority of the United States,” Neuberger said.
In addition to international collaborations to tackle these attacks, the US government has sanctioned a number of crypto exchanges used by North Korean groups and other threat actors to launder stolen funds.
In June 2023, a senior official from the Biden administration claimed that cyber-attacks make up 50% of Pyongyang’s foreign currency earnings, with the regime seeking to circumvent international sanctions to fund its military ambitions.
The creation of the consultative body follows an agreement between the three nations to establish a new trilateral working group to counter North Korea’s cyber threats in an August 2023 meeting at Camp David in the US.