In 2022, North Korean hackers controlled by the authorities stole up to $1 billion worth of virtual assets. This money went towards North Korea’s military spending.
Hackers associated with the North Korean authorities have stolen virtual assets and cyber currencies worth between $630 million and $1 billion in 2022, according to various estimates. This is according to a special UN report, Reuters reported on Monday, February 6.
“Changes in the value of cryptocurrency in recent months have likely affected these estimates, but both estimates show that 2022 was a record year for the theft of virtual assets by North Korea,” the UN report said.
The methods used by DPRK cyber criminals have become “more sophisticated” in the past year, making it difficult to track stolen funds, the report said. Most of the cyber-attacks were carried out by groups controlled by North Korea’s main intelligence agency. In just the past six years, DPRK state-controlled hackers have seized a total of about $1.2 billion worth of online assets.
The money is also used for the nuclear program
Funds were often anonymously invested in cryptocurrency and then used to fund North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs, the report said. North Korea has launched 73 ballistic missiles in 2022 and is increasingly openly threatening nuclear weapons, the UN said.
In June, US Special Representative for North Korea, Son Kim, said intelligence reports indicated that North Korea intends to conduct another – seventh – nuclear test “at any moment”. North Korea last tested a thermonuclear warhead in 2017.