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UN Report: North Korea Hacking Hundreds of Millions of Dollars

UN Report: North Korea Hacking Hundreds of Millions of Dollars

North Korea is using sophisticated hacking methods to obtain hundreds of millions of dollars from financial institutions in violation of international sanctions, claims a UN report.

Hackers have even targeted UN members directly, using spear-phishing emails in an attempt to steal passwords and other credentials.

Last week, the US Government accused Pyongyang of running a hackers-for-hire system in which it offers talent to governments or criminals organizations in return for money. Two Chinese nationals were indicted and sanctioned last month for helping North Korean hackers launder $100 million in stolen funds.

North Korea’s hacking operation is “low-risk, high reward,” and “difficult to detect,” reads the UN report. And it may be lucrative enough to counter the sanctions designed to force North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un to abandon his nukes.

According to satellite images, the regime has continued its short-range missile tests despite international sanctions. 

Pyongyang is also raising money in violation of sanctions by smuggling coal and other goods to China using dangerous ship-to-ship (STS) transfers.

“STS transfers have become a staple among North Korea’s sanctions-busters as they have sought to avoid scrutiny by transferring oil, coal, and other cargoes away from port and in the open ocean where they are difficult to detect with satellite imagery.”

North Korea has recalled most of its vessels in response to the coronavirus, but we can expect this illicit activity to resume when the pandemic subsides. 

Author’s Note: Unfortunately it looks like China is helping North Korea evade international sanctions; I wouldn’t be surprised if this is done with support from Beijing. 

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  1. Paul Alexander

    Is anyone really surprised at this point at anything China and their little friend do??? For nations that love communism, they have some serious capitalistic tendencies and enjoy the good life.

  2. Rich

    It’s time to turn North Korea’s “lights off” and let them become the Hermit Kingdom they have always wanted to be. Shut off all mail, internet, telephone and send Kim-is-ill the “horse head” of “Godfather” fame.

    He might just get the message when his population turns to Civil War?

    • Knobby

      North Korean civilians are not able to start a civil war. The 2 generations of Kim family dictators have most of them cowering out of fear if they even poke their head up above the crowd. Their neighbors would rat them out in an instant for a reward of some kind.

      This exact situation is why the Founding Fathers wrote the Second Amendment.

      Too bad those Koreans did not have the good fortune to have a team of policy geniuses like the USA had back in 1776-1797. Those days are long gone, and there is no hope on the horizon.

  3. Mike

    Why would North Korea be doing this? Kim Jong Un has written beautiful letters to Donald Trump…