As reported by the Associated Press, some United Nations agents are investigating North Korea for allegedly launching 35 coordinated state-sponsored cyber attacks activities against 17 countries. The attacks were allegedly linked to the hermit country’s goal of raising enough funds to continue their weapons upgrade program. According to the Associated Press, North Korean regime was already successful in collecting $2 billion as “profit” with its hacker teams’ success in global cyber attack activities, against Asian nations of South Korea, Bangladesh, India, Malaysia, and Vietnam. Countries in South America were also badly hit, like Costa Rica and Guatemala. Some African nations such as Nigeria, Gambia, and South Africa were also not spared.
The U.N. representatives are requesting for further probe of North Korea, as this may be a violation of sanctions imposed earlier by the former. North Korean hackers were accused of illegally transferring money between banks, it was through the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications. There were also accusations against the hermit-regime of abusing cryptocurrency holders due to theft. U.N. investigators are also convinced that North Korea deals with cryptocurrency mining development and proliferation.
North Korea is limited to just importing 500,000 barrels oil, as per the U.N. sanctions. Western countries, including the United States, continued to accuse North Korea of exceeding the U.N. sanctions for 2019. The investigators are pushing for penalties against Wise Honest’s (North Korean shipping company) owner and captain, for illegal shipments of coal to North Korea in 2018. The Security Council is expected to act on the case, as a report was submitted to it with regards to evasion of sanctions on coal exports to North Korea. Illegal imports of Mercedes Benz S-600 cars were also in the report, further fueling the allegations of evasion.
North Korean hacking group were also allegedly targeting Chile banks, more particularly the one named Redbanc, the interbank network that operates all the ATMs in Chile. According to the results of the probe, around 5000 questionable transactions were made, including the rerouting of funds similar to money laundering. The North Korean regime has an increasing interest in tapping on the global cryptocurrency craze. South Korean cryptocurrency exchange Bithumb was hacked for at least four times, the first attack incurred a loss of $7 million. A subsequent attack in June 2018 cost the company to absorb a $31 million loss. The 3rd wave of attack cost Bithumb another $20 million.
Pyongyang is also known for maintaining a hacker team that specializes in cryptocurrency mining. Rumors spread regarding some crypto-mining malware “profits” goes directly to the crypto wallets hosted in the Kim II Sung University located in the North Korean capital of Pyongyang. “To illegally force the transfer of funds from financial institutions and cryptocurrency exchanges, launder stolen proceeds, and generate income in evasion of financial sanctions,” explained Associate Press. This is a developing story, the North Korean government has not made any comments yet. As soon as new information becomes available, we will update this article once again. Speculations are ripe when it comes to issues surrounding North Korea, we will focus more on facts than rumors.