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58 cyber attacks costing $3bn under investigation by UN

The United Nations has launched an investigation into almost 60 cyber attacks believed to have been by North Korea.

user icon Daniel Croft
Mon, 12 Feb 2024
58 cyber attacks costing $3bn under investigation by UN
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The 58 attacks in question resulted in the collection of US$3 billion (roughly A$4.6 billion), which the UN believes was used to fund the development of North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.

“The panel is investigating 58 suspected DPRK cyber attacks on cryptocurrency-related companies between 2017 and 2023, valued at approximately US$3 billion, which reportedly help fund DPRK’s WMD development,” wrote a panel of independent UN security monitors to the Security Council committee.

The Security Council previously banned North Korea from conducting ballistic missile launches and nuclear tests and placed a number of sanctions on North Korea in an effort to cut funding from the nuclear program.

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“The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) continued to flout Security Council sanctions,” wrote a panel of independent UN sanctions monitors to the Security Council committee.

“It further developed nuclear weapons and produced nuclear fissile materials, although its last known nuclear test took place in 2017,” they added, saying that it had launched a satellite, continued ballistic missile tests and obtained a tactical nuclear attack submarine.

The UN is due to release a report on the matter later this month, if not in March.

Sanctions monitors have said that North Korean hacking groups with ties to the nation’s primary foreign intelligence agency, the Reconnaissance General Bureau (RGB), have continued to launch attacks in high numbers.

“Trends include DPRK targeting of defence companies and supply chains, and increasingly sharing infrastructure and tools,” they said.

The Security Council is unlikely to push on North Korea too much harder, as they have been deadlocked for years. Meanwhile, Russia and China have called for sanctions to be lifted as part of an effort to convince North Korea to reconsider denuclearisation.

Previously, North Korea has denied allegations of hacking.

Outside of its investigation of North Korean hacking, the UN is also investigating the country in other ways, including the military relationship between it and Russia. North Korea has previously been accused by the US of supplying Russia with weapons.

“The panel is investigating reports from member states about supplies by DPRK of conventional arms and munitions in contravention of sanctions,” said the sanctions monitors.

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