December 09, 2020 13:11
The U.S. is about to seize 280 cryptocurency accounts it says are held by North Korean hackers who stole the money from exchanges.
The U.S. Justice Department filed a civil complaint to forfeit the accounts in August. According to forfeiture regulations, federal prosecutors placed a notice for a month and then waited another 60 days for anyone to claim the accounts, reporting back to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on Dec. 1 that nobody had.
That means they can now seize the accounts, which they say were set up by North Korean hackers who stole the cryptocurrency from exchanges and laundered it through Chinese middlemen.
"Today's action publicly exposes the ongoing connections between North Korea's cyber-hacking program and a Chinese cryptocurrency money laundering network," Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian Rabbitt said in a statement.
The outgoing U.S. National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien on Monday said North Korea's "very sophisticated cyber capability and cyber warfare capability" are "something we take seriously."
Speaking to online magazine 19FortyFive, he added, "We have also made it a priority for the Pentagon to be prepared to go offensive if necessary in cyber and in the space domain. North Korea is just one of several countries that have highly advanced technical capabilities in that realm."
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