Various hacks have occurred across cryptocurrency exchanges over the last few years with the loss of several hundreds of millions of dollars taking place. This has brought up the consistent topic of security within the crypto industry and how exchanges can be better secured for the good of the users. In certain cases, the perpetrators of these crimes are individuals who solely want to profit.
However, according to the United Nations, this activity is not limited to individuals as the country of North Korea has made roughly $2 billion through the hacking of banks and cryptocurrency exchanges. This lends credibility to a previous report that stated that North Korea funds part of its nuclear program and illegal activities through the use of the cryptocurrency that has been stolen.
North Korea and Crypto Exchanges
This information comes courtesy of the UN Security Council and a report published August 5, 2019, the North Korea sanctions committee states that hacks have made up an essential part of government funding within the country.
“Democratic People’s Republic of Korea cyber actors, many operating under the direction of the Reconnaissance General Bureau, raise money for its WMD (weapons of mass destruction) programs, with total proceeds to date estimated at up to two billion US dollars,” the report said.
Across the globe, countries are turning to cryptocurrency for various reasons such as weathering the storm during a financial crisis in the case of Venezuela or simply trying to unite citizens under a new payment system. However, the notoriety of North Korea is in line with this recent report as the country is facing heavy sanctions from other world powers and as such, will need to build alternative sources of income.
The report notes that South Korea might be a specific target of the country but one of the most recent which was an email phishing scam which targeted uses of Upbit, a major trading platform with the hackers masquerading as representatives of the firm.
All these efforts, according to the FBI, are a way for North Korea to counter the effects of the current sanctions which have been put in place and are unlikely to be lifted to due to lack of progress with ongoing talks. The contrast in crypto use between countries simply goes to show the upsides and downsides of digital currency.