The UN Security Council recently revealed in its annual report that North Korea is making online attacks and using blockchain technologies to obtain foreign exchange and avoid financial sanctions, Nikkei Asia Review.
Prior to the board's report, a panel of experts said the country was behind hacking about 670 million-dollar foreign exchange and cryptocurrency in the years 2015-2018.
Although North Korea is hitting various foreign financial firms from 2015, it appears to have acquired most of its money between January 2017 and September 2018.
According to the report, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea has successfully hacked several Asian cryptocurrency services at least 5 times, stealing a total of 571 million dollars. In addition, the attacks were carried out by a specialized North Korean military unit.
In January of 2018, the Japanese cryptocurrency service, Coincheck, fell victim to hacking, resulting in a cryptocurrency loss of 530 worth millions of dollars.
Japan underwent another online attack in September of 2018 in which 60 lost millions of dollars.
South Korea has also fallen victim to hacking and suspects North Korea is responsible. An example is the popular Interpark e-commerce platform, where 10 personal information of millions of users was compromised by online attacks. The hacker 2,7 asked for millions of dollars to return the stolen data.
Avoiding financial penalties
According to the United Nations Commission, North Korea has used blockchain technology to cover its traces and avoid financial sanctions imposed by the UN.
According to Nikkei Asia Review, the UN commission said:
"Cryptocurrency provides the Democratic People's Republic of Korea with more ways to avoid sanctions, as it is more difficult to identify and is independent of government regulation."
Also, North Korea is accused of using the anonymity of certain cryptocurrencies to face financial sanctions.
For example, Marine Chain, a Hong Kong-based company using blockchain technology to buy and sell ships, is believed to have done business with North Korea until it was closed in September of 2018.
It is believed that North Korea was able to acquire significant amounts of cryptocurrency through this collaboration (apart from the attacks on the internet).