Clandestine Missile Program Bankrolled By Stolen Crypto Funds

North Korea, also known as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, is under crippling sanctions for failing to adhere to UN Security Council resolutions. However, the nation has been able to circumvent the sanctions and develop its nuclear and missile arsenals. UN officials have warned that North Korea poses a significant cyber threat. North Korean hackers have managed to steal millions of dollars worth of cryptocurrencies from exchanges in the United States and Asia. The money is used to fund its missile and nuclear weapon program, reports

UN officials have reported that between 2020 and mid-2021, cyber-attackers stole more than $50m (£37m) of digital assets. Such arracks are an essential source of revenue for North Korea for its nuclear and ballistic missile program. The findings were reportedly handed to the UN’s sanctions committee on Friday.

$400m worth of digital assets stolen last year

The report also highlighted a study published last month by the security firm Chainalysis which hinted that North Korean cyberattacks could have netted as much as $400 million worth of digital assets the previous year.

The UN reported in 2019 that North Korea had accumulated an estimated $2bn for its weapons of mass destruction programs by using sophisticated cyber-attacks.

North Korea is under sanctions for its nuclear and ballistic missile program. Despite crippling sanctions, Noth Korea has continued with its nuclear and missile development program. North Korea seeks material, technology, and funds overseas through cyber means and joint scientific research.

Marked augmentation of capabilities

The agency that monitors the sanctions’ implementation has hinted that Pyongyang has marked acceleration of missile testing. In one month, North Korea has conducted nine missile tests. 

North Korea has significantly augmented its capability for rapid deployment, comprehensive mobility (including at sea), and improved resilience of its missile forces, the sanctions monitors said.

China and Russia have refused to sign a statement condemning the proliferation by North Korea. However, the US special representative for North Korea would meet with Japanese and South Korean officials later this week to discuss the situation.

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