According to a panel of experts reporting to the U.N. Security Council, North Korea has been engaging in cyber attacks to subvert economic sanctions and obtain funds, Nikkei Asian Review writes. Pyongyang has managed to steal as much as $670 million in foreign currency and cryptocurrencies.
Economic sanctions have been imposed on North Korea because of its nuclear and missile programs. The programs still "remain intact,” even though the country’s main export—coal—was blocked.
The report states North Korea arranged hacks of overseas financial institutions between 2015 and 2018. The attacks are said to be carried out by specialised North Korean military corps, and blockchain technology was used to escape detection. According to the U.N. panel, North Korea has opted for crypto assets as they are “harder to trace.” It also pointed to the fact they are “independent from government regulation."
The experts have recommended the member states "enhance their ability to facilitate robust information exchange on the cyber attacks by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea with other governments and with their own financial institutions." This could allow for better detection and prevention of North Korea’s attempts to circumvent sanctions.