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South Korea Prepares to Upgrade Cyber Security to Stop North Korean Cyberattacks on Cryptocurrencies

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South Korea to Strengthen Cyber Security to Counter North Korean Cyberattacks

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Cryptocurrencies and Illegal Weapons Programs

South Korea is taking steps to enhance its cyber security in order to prevent cyberattacks from North Korea, particularly those involving cryptocurrencies. Government officials consider cryptocurrencies to be a crucial facilitator of Pyongyang’s illegal weapons programs. They believe that the previous administration lacked vigilance in addressing this issue.

New Legislation to Counter North Korean Hackers

The upcoming legislation aims to combat the exploitation of digital assets acquired by North Korean hackers. This addition was not present in the initial draft proposed by the National Intelligence Service in the previous year. Intelligence reports reveal that North Korean hackers managed to steal currencies worth $1.28 billion in 2022 through ransomware, scams, and various cyberattacks. This underscores the urgent need for robust countermeasures.

Cryptocurrency Assets Passed through South Korean Exchanges

Yoon Han Hong, a representative of the People Power Party serving on the National Policy Committee, stated that North Korean hackers have transferred around $52.46 million worth of cryptocurrency assets through South Korean exchanges in the past four years.

North Korea’s Funding for Missile Program through Cyber Theft

According to Ann Neuberger, the US deputy national security adviser for cyber and emerging technology, approximately half of the funding for North Korea’s missile program comes from digital theft and cyberattacks. This information correlates with the increase in missile tests conducted by North Korea, indicating a rise in cyber and military activities.

Billions Acquired Illegally through Cybercrime

Chainalysis, a blockchain analytics company, has revealed that North Korea illegally obtained over $3 billion through cybercrime in the past five years. UN sanctions experts have also linked North Korea to using stolen funds to support its banned nuclear and missile programs.

US FBI’s Investigations on North Korean Hackers

The US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is intensifying its scrutiny of North Korean hackers. In August, the bureau identified six Bitcoin wallets associated with the Lazarus Group, a North Korean hacking gang, containing nearly $40 million in Bitcoin (BTC).

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