South Korea sets independent sanctions for crypto theft against North Korea

South Korea has announced its first independent sanctions related to cryptocurrency theft and cyberattacks against specific North Korean groups and individuals.

According to The Seoul Foreign Ministry has blacklisted four North Korean citizens and seven companies for their alleged involvement in cyberattacks and cryptocurrency theft. The blacklist includes the infamous Park Jin Hyuk, Jo Myung Rae, Song Rim, and Oh Jung Sung.

The most notorious of the four hackers, Park, works in the information technology field for the Chosun Expo joint venture, a front company with ties to the Lazarus Group in North Korea. He is known for being involved in the 2017 WannaCry ransomware attack and the November 2014 cyberattack on Sony Pictures Entertainment. In 2018, the US Treasury blacklisted him.

Wanted poster by the FBI against a North Korean hacker. Source: FBI.

Since 2017, North Korean hackers have stolen more than $1.2 billion worth of virtual assets, including $626 million in 2022, according to information provided by the Foreign Ministry. As reported by Cryptooshala, a confidential United Nations report showed that in 2022, North Korean hackers stole every other year. The UN report estimated the amount of the theft from 650 million to 1 billion dollars.

North Korean hackers have stolen more cryptocurrencies than ever before. Source Chain analysis

Independent sanctions against North Korean hackers and hacker groups came just hours after sanctions against South Korea and the United States. announced cybersecurity joint venture against ransomware attacks. South Korea’s National Intelligence Service, in cooperation with the National Security Agency and other US intelligence organizations, has issued a joint cybersecurity alert about the threat posed by North Korean ransomware.

North Korean Lazarus Group masterminded $100 million Harmony hack: FBI confirms

This cyber activity, which is often linked to the Main Intelligence Bureau – North Korea’s military intelligence – is considered one of the main sources of funding for the country’s nuclear and missile programs, despite the country being under heavy international sanctions.

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