North Korea’s missile programs allegedly funded by stolen crypto


Anne Neuberger, Deputy National Security Adviser for Cyber and Emerging Technology, has reinforced the United States government’s commitment to tracking and identifying digital asset thieves originating from North Korea.

Unidentified sources from within the White House have revealed that North Korea has been financing roughly half of its missile tests through the proceeds of cryptocurrency theft and cyber warfare.

A recent study by Chainalysis, a blockchain data platform, indicated that in 2022 alone, North Korean cyber criminals siphoned off $1.7 billion in digital assets. Among the most infamous of these hacking groups is the Lazarus Group, which has been implicated in several significant cyber attacks, including a high-profile breach of the Ronin Network that resulted in a loss of $625 million.

north korea
Source: Chainalysis

The ongoing threat of North Korean hackers

In recent years, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea has been steadily advancing towards becoming a military powerhouse. It is one of the few countries worldwide to possess nuclear capabilities. Under the leadership of Kim Jong Un, the nation has relentlessly pursued the enhancement of its weaponry through consistent missile programs and a series of tests.

A White House insider recently exposed the fact that cyber theft of cryptocurrencies is a significant source of funding for these military activities. Neuberger stated that the Biden administration is investing substantial effort and consideration into understanding how a nation like North Korea can be so innovative in this field.

She further declared that US intelligence agencies are actively working to unmask the culprits and track the siphoned off assets.

The United Nations has also alleged that the isolated nation has been funding its missile programs and nuclear experiments through cryptocurrency theft.

Despite facing international criticism and threats, North Korea remains undeterred in its militaristic pursuits. Last month, the country’s authorities reported the testing of their “most powerful” missile to date, a development that has sparked widespread concern. Experts caution that this new weapon poses a heightened threat to other nations, including the United States, due to its potential for rapid deployment and devastating impact.

Kim Jong Un, who oversaw the test, warned that the successful launch would instill “extreme fear and anxiety” in the nation’s adversaries.

North Korea’s cyber crime footprint in 2022

Cryptocurrency theft through sophisticated cyber attacks has become a trademark strategy for North Korean hackers. Chainalysis estimates that these illicit activities resulted in a staggering loss of $1.7 billion in digital assets over the course of 2022.

The Lazarus Group, a hacking collective believed to have ties to the North Korean government, has been accused of orchestrating some of the largest cyber attacks last year. The FBI has identified this group as the perpetrators behind the colossal $625 million breach of the Ronin Network.

Earlier this year, compliance platform MistTrack reported that the Lazarus Group had stolen $100 million from the cryptocurrency protocol Harmony, a claim that was subsequently echoed by Elliptic Enterprise.

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Mohammad Shahid

An IT and Cybersecurity graduate with specialized knowledge of cryptocurrency and blockchain, Mohammad joins the Repo elite team. He has worked on several blockchain development projects and is an enthusiastic crypto trader.

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