The US Treasury Department has sanctioned against three North Korean hacker groups “responsible for the theft of $571 million worth of cryptos from five exchanges in Asia in 2017 and 2018.”
US Treasury sanctioning
On 13th Sept, US Department of Treasury announced that it has sanctioned three North Korean Hacker groups- Lazarus Group, Bluenoroff, and Andariel.
Sigal Mandelker, Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence said:
“Treasury is taking action against North Korean hacking groups that have been perpetrating cyberattacks to support illicit weapon and missile programs. […] We will continue to enforce existing U.S. and UN sanctions against North Korea and work with the international community to improve cybersecurity of financial networks.”
The treasury department views that the stolen funds will be used in North Korea’s endeavor for nuclear weapons and missiles.
Allegations by United Nations
In August, the United Nations stated that North Korean hackers have wiped out “$2 billion worth cryptos and fiat currencies” through hacking exchanges and banks. The U.N. Security Council North Korea Sanctions Committee highlighted that these kind of hackers are a part of government fundings while reporting:
“Democratic People’s Republic of Korea cyber actors, many operating under the direction of the Reconnaissance General Bureau, raise money for its WMD (weapons of mass destruction) programs, with total proceeds to date estimated at up to two billion US dollars.”
UN claimed that the attacks were done “in 35 separate attacks in 17 countries”.
North Korea denies allegations
On Sept 1, North Korea’s official media Korea Central News Agency (KCNA) released a statement denying the allegations made by the UN. DPRK for Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism added to the statement that both the United States and the UN are spreading nothing but rumors.
“Such a fabrication by the hostile forces is nothing but a sort of a nasty game aimed at tarnishing the image of our Republic and finding justification for sanctions and pressure campaign against the DPRK.”