North Korean Hackers Steal More Than $300 Million To Pay For Nuclear Weapons
North Korean hackers have reportedly stolen more than $300 million to pay for nuclear weapons.
According to a leaked United Nations (UN) report, the hackers used the money to fund the country’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs, violating international law in the process.
Details from the document, written by members of the UN Panel of Experts on North Korea, were obtained by CNN via an anonymous diplomatic UN Security Council source.
The panel looked into North Korea’s top intelligence agency, the Reconnaissance General Bureau, in regards to ‘the targeting of virtual assets and virtual asset service providers, and attacks on defense companies’.
The document reportedly goes on to accuse Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un’s regime of carrying out ‘operations against financial institutions and virtual currency exchange houses’ to purchase weapons and keep the secretive country’s flailing economy afloat.
One UN country, which has not been named, has claimed the hackers took $316.4 million dollars worth of virtual assets between 2019 and November 2020.
The report also alleges North Korea has ‘produced fissile material, maintained nuclear facilities and upgraded its ballistic missile infrastructure’ while seeking ‘material and technology for these programs from overseas’.
UN investigators reportedly detailed how one nation had determined that it was ‘highly likely’ North Korea had the capabilities to mount a nuclear device to ballistic missiles of any range. However, it is not yet clear if those missiles would be capable of successfully re-entering Earth’s atmosphere.
The panel of experts wrote, as per Fox News:
[North Korea] displayed new short-range, medium-range, submarine-launched and intercontinental ballistic missile systems at military parades.
In addition, the panel noted that North Korea had ‘announced preparation for testing and production of new ballistic missile warheads and, development of tactical nuclear weapons… and upgraded its ballistic missile infrastructure’.
The panel has now recommended the Security Council impose sanctions on four North Korean men: Choe Song Chol, Im Song Sun, Pak Hwa Song and Hwang Kil Su.
Sanctions have been placed on North Korea by the Security Council since the country’s first nuclear explosion test in 2006. The sanctions limit exports and imports in a bid to pressure the country to stop its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes.
However, North Korea has continued to disobey the sanctions, proceeding with its weapons development and ‘malicious cyber activities’.
Though the reported hack is significant, it is less than the $2 billion of assets stolen by North Korean hackers in 2019 to fund the country’s nuclear capabilities.
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