Last month, a leaked UN report revealed that North Korea has stolen some $2B in cryptocurrency hacking attempts since 2015. Now, the pariah state is firing back at these accusations.
North Korea is, by all estimates, a cryptocurrency whale. Its mysterious ‘Bureau 121’ is apparently responsible for many high profile hacks. A single cell within the group called ‘APT38’ has been linked to cryptocurrency attacks for years now, an allegedly makes up a large portion of North Korea’s GDP.
South Korean cybersecurity firm Cuvepia reported that it found more 30 cases since April 2018 alone. In total, $2B or so has been stolen from cryptocurrency hacking-related cases by North Korea since 2015.
As one might expect, North Korea is vehemently denying these allegations. In an official statement by the National Coordination Committee of the DPRK, the state claims that the UN is engaging in a smear campaign. “Such a fabrication by the hostile forces is nothing but a sort of a nasty game aimed at tarnishing the image of our Republic and finding justification for sanctions and pressure campaign against the DPRK,” the statement says.
The report continues to become incendiary, calling the ‘fake’ accusations as “the same old trick as the Hitler fascist propagandists.” North Korea claims that the recent Midterm Report of the Panel of Experts of the Sanctions Committee substantiates its claim. The report concludes with the aphorism “tell a lie a hundred times and it will pass as truth.”
The UN bombshell report was first reported by Japanese newspaper Asahi Shinbun. However, North Korea’s cryptocurrency aspirations are well-established regardless of the regime’s claims to the contrary. There has even been a link recorded between North Korea’s cryptocurrency hacking and its nuclear program, with much of the proceeds going towards funding new weaponry.
It’s still unclear whether the UN report will bring forth fresh sanctions on the country. For now, the United States has been hesitant to press North Korea further considering that a possible nuclear deal is in the cards.
Do you believe that the UN report actually understates the extent of North Korea’s cryptocurrency operations? Let us know your thoughts below in the comments.