Seoul Sanctions North Korea Over Crypto Theft

South Korea has imposed sanctions on North Korea in connection with a number of cyberattacks, often resulting in the theft of cryptocurrencies. Seoul authorities say the regime in Pyongyang is using digital assets to fund its nuclear and missile projects.

South Korea imposes first sanctions against North Korean hackers for cybercrime

The South Korean government has imposed sanctions in response to cyberattacks allegedly carried out by North Korea to finance its military programs. Measures Target Four North Korean Individuals and Seven Entities, Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Seoul announced Friday.

The sanctions, which the South has imposed independently for the first time, target entities associated with North Korea’s main intelligence agency, the General Intelligence Bureau, which is believed to be responsible for Pyongyang’s cyber warfare operations.

They include the Lazarus Group, a hacker collective linked to hundreds of millions of dollars worth of stolen cryptocurrencies, and one of its members, Park Jin-hyuk, who is on the FBI’s most wanted list of cybercriminals who is allegedly behind the Wannacry ransomware and other cyberattacks. .

These are “not the only targets” under scrutiny, said a senior foreign ministry official who was quoted by the Korea Herald without giving details. UPI reported that Pyongyang Automation University, which is believed to train North Korean hackers, has also been blacklisted.

The South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that since 2017, these hackers have stolen more than $1.2 billion worth of digital currency. More than half of that amount came from last March’s attack on Ronin, the blockchain network for the online game Axie Infinity.

North Korea has stolen more crypto assets in 2022 than in any previous year, according to a draft UN report prepared by independent sanctions monitors. The document, which has yet to be released, makes various estimates, including an estimate that virtual money obtained by hackers working for Pyongyang exceeded $1 billion during the study period.

Do you expect South Korea to expand sanctions against North Korea in the future? Tell us in the comments section below.

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