The United Nations (UN) recently released a report pertaining to North Korea’s activity on the internet. According to the report, it found that the rogue state has stolen approximately US$2 billion (~RM8.39 billion) from a number of banks and cryptocurrency exchanges.
The report says that the country had conducted “large scale attacks against cryptocurrency exchanges”, providing an avenue of generating income that difficult to trace and has even less government oversight. Due to its legality when compared to traditional banking regulations.
As to where all that illegally obtained funds go to, it should come as no surprise that all of it is funnelled into a program that North Korea has long been notorious for: it’s nuclear program. It should also be clear that hacking isn’t the only avenue it uses to obtain funds. The same report also points out that the Hermit Kingdom has about 30 representatives around the world. Controlling bank accounts and facilitating illicit transactions which includes petroleum and coal, the latter being a material that the country has an abundance of.
This isn’t the first time North Korea has come under scrutiny for its hacking activities. Some of you may remember when the country allegedly launched a cyber-attack against Sony Pictures for its creation of The Interview. The attackers also released personal information of all its employees and their family members.
In 2017, the country came under scrutiny again when it was suspected of stealing Bitcoin from several sources, including Bitcoin exchanges situated in its neighbouring country, South Korea.
(Source: Bloomberg // Image: Vox)