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North Korean cyber-attacks have stolen millions of dollars worth of cryptocurrency to fund the country’s missile programmes

North Korea: Cybercriminals stole more than $50 million (£37 million) in digital assets between 2020 and 2021, according to investigators. According to them, such strikes constitute a “significant money source” for Pyongyang’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs. On Friday, the findings were apparently presented to the UN’s sanctions committee. At least three cryptocurrency exchanges in North America, Europe, and Asia were targeted in the cyber-attacks.

The newspaper also cited a study released last month by the security firm Chainalysis, which claimed that North Korean hacks garnered up to $400 million in digital assets last year.

In 2019, the United Nations assessed that North Korea has amassed an estimated $2 billion for its WMD programs through sophisticated cyber-attacks. The UN Security Council has prohibited North Korea from conducting nuclear tests or launching ballistic missiles. Despite the punishing restrictions, North Korea has been able to continue expanding its nuclear and ballistic missile facilities, according to the UN assessment.

North Korea: Stolen crypto funding the missile programme

It has also continued to look for materials, technology, and know-how from other countries, notably through cyber methods and collaborative scientific study. Pyongyang’s missile testing has “markedly accelerated,” according to sanctions monitors.

North Korea, technically known as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), conducted nine missile tests in the last month, according to the US. The sanctions monitors claimed the DPRK “demonstrated expanded capability for fast deployment, wide mobility (including at sea), and better missile force resilience.” China and Russia declined to sign a statement criticizing the proliferation of North Korean missile launches on Friday. The US stated on Sunday that its special representative for North Korea would meet with officials from Japan and South Korea later this week to address the situation.

The UN assessment also stated that North Korea’s humanitarian condition was deteriorating. This was most likely due to the country’s choice to seal its borders during the pandemic, according to the report.

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