North Korea carried out cybercrimes due to sanctions, US intelligence claims

North Korea has been engaging in cybercrimes in order to subvert economic sanctions, Korea Herald writes. According to Deputy Assistant Director of the FBI’s cyber readiness, outreach and intelligence branch Tonya Ugoretz, the sanctions were the cause for a number of cyber attacks, including Sony Pictures Entertainment in 2014 and the Bangladesh Bank robbery in 2016. 

“Sanctions are having an economic impact, so cyber operations are a means to make money, whether it’s through cryptocurrency mining or bank theft,” Ugoretz said.

North Korea has also been engaging in cryptocurrency hacking, explained Erin Joe, director of the Cyber Threat Intelligence Integration Center under the US Director of National Intelligence. According to Joe, due to the relative novelty of cryptocurrency-related crimes, the agencies need to learn how to deal with such crimes.

Earlier this year, the U.N. reported North Korea managed to steal as much as $670 million in foreign currency and cryptocurrencies between 2015 and 2018.