The United Nations has accused the North Korean state of stealing $281 million worth of crypto from an exchange during September 2020. According to the Reuters report, the findings from a “confidential report” authored by independent sanctions monitors for U.N. Security Council members “strongly suggests” links between the hack’s perpetrators and the North Korean regime. The report stated, “preliminary analysis, based on the attack vectors and subsequent efforts to launder the illicit proceeds, strongly suggests links to North Korea.”
The U.N. accuses DPRK of using crypto to fund nuclear programs.
Reuters report further noted the U.N. report accuses the North Korean regime of using the stolen funds to support its nuclear and ballistic missile programs in violation of international sanctions. Despite the report containing few concrete details surrounding the victimized exchange, crypto data firm Whale Alert’s Frank van Weert speculated the report must be referring to the September 2020 KuCoin hack. Blockchain analytical firm Chainalysis has also estimated losses from the KuCoin hack at $275 million. The crypto exchange says it has since recovered 80% of the stolen funds.
North Korea generated roughly $2 billion through cyber attacks.
The report estimates North Korea generated roughly $2 billion in total through “widespread and increasingly sophisticated” cyberattacks targeting banks and crypto exchanges as of 2019. The U.N report further notes that one member state believes North Korea stole $316.3M worth of digital assets between 2019 and November 2020, suggesting the DPRK regime was responsible for a further $36 million worth of crypto thefts on top of the KuCoin hack during that time. U.S. federal judge ruled that an Ethereum developer accused of helping North Korea to evade sanctions by delivering a speech at a 2019 crypto conference in Pyongyang must soon face a jury.