It has been known for several years now that North Korea is using cryptocurrency theft to fund its weapons program. And this year was no exception to the rule: the country allegedly stole $620 million in March alone to continue its trials.
North Korea funds its weaponry with stolen cryptocurrencies
North Korean hacker groups – including Lazarus, the best known – are identified and we know that they lend themselves to substantial hacks to raise funds for a government particularly hampered by international sanctions. One of the main goals being to finance the country’s nuclear armament program. And according to a representative of the South Korean government, they would have engaged in substantial thefts at the beginning of the year.
It is indeed 620 million dollars of cryptocurrency that would have been stolen just in Marchaccording to The Korea Herald, which reports a meeting attended by US and South Korean government officials.
It has indeed been confirmed that the hack of Ronin, the sidechain on which the game Axie Infinity is based, had indeed been operated by agents of North Korea. Information that had already been mentioned by the US Treasury earlier in the year.
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Missiles financed with cryptocurrencies
The result is that the tests carried out and missiles sent by North Korea this year were thanks to these stolen cryptocurrencies. Observers had noted that the country has increased the frequency of firing its missiles: 65 for the current year according to the Korea Herald.
North Korea’s Director of Nuclear Affairs at South Korea’s Foreign Ministry, Lee Tae-Woo, has also reported that cryptocurrency thefts would have enabled Kim Jong Un’s regime to raise more than $1 billion between January and July.
In response to these attacks, governments are trying to sanction entities that allow North Korea to launder these funds. The Blender.io mixer was thus sanctioned by the United States last May. But it remains difficult to prevent these thefts at the source, given their origin.
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Source: The Korean Herald
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