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James Carter

March 14, 2023

Breaking News: Sanctions May Be Ineffective Against North Korea Crypto Hacks

An official from the South Korean government has asserted that international sanctions may not be able to stop North Korea’s campaign of hacking cryptographic systems.

Sanctions May Be Ineffective Against North Korea Crypto Hacks

An unknown government official located in Seoul was quoted as saying the following by the news organization Yonhap TV News:

The magnitude of North Korea’s involvement in activities related to cybercrime provides evidence that the international community’s sanctions against North Korea are becoming increasingly ineffective.

According to sources within the South Korean government, North Korea’s “illegal foreign currency gains” totaled $2.3 billion in the previous year.

According to Seoul, at least 700 million of that total was obtained through large-scale crypto raids, with additional crypto being “taken” through “hacking” attempts and phishing on smaller domestic targets.

The FBI has previously pointed the finger of blame at North Korea for planning and carrying out the attack on the Ronin Bridge. The government agency has implemented restrictions on various Ethereum (ETH) wallets that it believes are connected to the individuals who are suspected of hacking the bridge.

Pyongyang is believed to have profited financially from “illegal exports,” according to Seoul as well.

The level of North Korea’s “foreign currency imports is at its highest level since 2018,” which is the year that “economic sanctions against North Korea were launched in earnest,” according to the explanation provided by the media outlet. South Korean government officials have stated that this is the case.

Sanctions Not Slowing North Korea’s Crypto Hacks, Says Seoul

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Says At the beginning of this year, security companies in Seoul anticipated a forthcoming “surge” in North Korean crypto hacking. Meanwhile, the cryptocurrency exchanges Binance and Huobi said one month ago that they had frozen wallets containing “roughly $1.4 million in cryptoassets” that were “connected” to North Korea.

Security companies and government organizations in the United States have made the assertion that North Korean hacker groups such as Lazarus utilize coin-mixing services in order to “launder” cryptocurrency and make cryptocurrency transactions appear more anonymous.

They allege that some of these mixers have been turned off while others are either being repackaged or given a new lease on life. They believe that this is being done in an effort to give criminals the ability to convert their cryptocurrency holdings into fiat currency.

Pyongyang has consistently stated that it does not authorize the hacking of cryptographic systems. Both Washington and Seoul have been accused of falsifying allegations regarding North Korea’s involvement in crypto-related operations, which North Korea has blamed on the United States.