The Korea Herald


N. Korea stole $700 mln of crypto in 2022: NIS

By Yonhap

Published : July 19, 2023 - 19:49

    • Link copied

(123rf) (123rf)

North Korea stole a total of US$700 million worth of cryptocurrency last year, equivalent to the money that would enable the country to fire 30 intercontinental ballistic missiles, South Korea's state intelligence agency said Wednesday.

"We've confirmed that North Korea took $700 million in virtual assets in two separate incidents last year," said a senior official from the National Intelligence Service (NIS), adding that Pyongyang has failed to monetize them yet.

North Korea's attempts to hack into the space and defense industries in South Korea and abroad have been on the rise since the country announced its plans to concentrate on launching a space satellite and increasing its nuclear capability, he added.

"Despite the international community's pressure, North Korea will focus more on stealing virtual assets and monetizing them," he said. "We estimate that the amount of money earned by its hackers accounts for about 30 percent of North Korea's total foreign currency earnings."

He said the NIS will strengthen cooperation with local exchange operators to counter North Korea's rising cyber attacks.

Meanwhile, the NIS official said a North Korean hacker was caught last month trying to get a job at an overseas office of a South Korean energy company.

The hacker, who had posted his resume on the global professional networking platform LinkedIn, used a forged passport and graduation certificate during the recruitment process.

But he did not elaborate on the names of the Korean company and the country where the North Korean hacker had stayed, citing the sensitivity of the issue. (Yonhap)