North Korea is allegedly funding its nuclear weapons programs with stolen cryptocurrency worth millions of dollars, according to international investigators.
Meanwhile, a controversy has erupted in South Korean political circles over claims that certain politicians have connections to the crypto developer Virgil Griffith.
The development is timely in light of Pyongyang’s assertion that recent missile launches were a “simulation” of nuclear attacks on South Korea.
According to South Korean and American intelligence reports, the North will soon carry out its first nuclear weapons test in five years. And all of this, according to Seoul and Washington, is being paid for, at least in part, with stolen cryptocurrency.
According to Yonhap, the North Korea Sanctions Committee of the UN Security Council has assigned responsibility for both the Ronin Bridge and the Harmony hacks to North Korean hacking organizations like Lazarus.
Moreover, the committee said that Pyongyang’s General Bureau of Reconnaissance approved the hacks.
The committee went on to say that North Korean hackers, including members of Lazarus, had “used social engineering hacking methods” to infiltrate systems and exploited people to get past the defenses of the bridges.
The committee also asserted that the General Bureau of Reconnaissance had repurposed the BlueNoroff hacking group, which Western powers had accused of being responsible for the 2016 attack on Bangladesh’s Central Bank, to only target cryptocurrency theft.
The committee also asserted that while it was impossible to know for sure whether BlueNoroff had, like Lazarus, “succeeded in generating illegal revenue for North Korea,” it was likely that “these types of operations” would “likely continue” in the future.
The Democratic Party, the largest party in the National Assembly, and the People’s Power Party, which controls the executive, are in danger of getting into a nasty political fight over the North and its alleged operations involving crypto assets, according to Digital Today.