November 06, 2019 12:11
North Korea has been suspected of using a Hong Kong-based blockchain company to launder money, prompting an investigation by the UN Security Council's Sanctions Committee on North Korea. North Korea's intelligence agency also grooms cyber agents from childhood to turn them into hackers who steal cyber money.
A quarterly report by the committee says that the North set up a shipping and logistics firm run on a blockchain platform in Hong Kong in April to evade international sanctions.
The owner and sole investor in Marine China is a person named Julian Kim who also goes by the alias Tony Walker. He apparently appointed another person as head of the firm and attempted to withdraw money several times from banks in Singapore.
The committee said cyber currency the North stole last year was exchanged into cash after going through at least 5,000 separate transactions through several countries making it "difficult to track."
The report also said North Korean hacker use a method of called "spear-phishing" to select a target and launch precision attacks. The North used that method to hack into the computer network of a bank in Bangladesh in 2016. Altogether 17 countries have become targets of North Korean spear-phishing over the last three years, and the damage totals an estimated US$2 billion.
One malicious code developed by North Korean hackers was designed to funnel stolen bitcoins to a server at Pyongyang's Kim Il-sung University.
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