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Monday, May 29, 2023

Seoul Sanctions North Korea Over Crypto Theft

Seoul Sanctions North Korea Over Crypto Theft – The South Korean government imposed sanctions in response to alleged North Korean hacking to fund its military projects. The restrictions target four North Korean individuals and seven entities, according to the Seoul Foreign Ministry. The sanctions, the South’s first independently imposed, target actors linked with North Korea’s main intelligence agency, the Reconnaissance General Bureau, which is said to be in charge of Pyongyang’s cyberwarfare operations.

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Among them are the hacking collective Lazarus Group, which has been linked to hundreds of millions of dollars in stolen cryptocurrency, and one of its members, Park Jin Hyok, who is on the FBI’s Most Wanted list of cybercriminals and is suspected of being behind the Wannacry ransomware and other cyberattacks.

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According to a senior Foreign Ministry official quoted by the Korea Herald, these are “not the only targets” under scrutiny. According to UPI, Pyongyang Automation University, which is thought to be training North Korean hackers, has also been blacklisted.

According to the South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs, these hackers have stolen more than $1.2 billion in digital currency since 2017. Over half of it originated from an attack on Ronin, the blockchain network of the online game Axie Infinity, in March of last year.

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North Korea stole more digital assets in 2022 than in any previous year, according to a draft United Nations report compiled by independent sanctions monitors. The document, which has yet to be made public, quotes various estimations, including one estimating that the virtual cash obtained by hackers working for Pyongyang during the investigated time was worth more than $1 billion.


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